National Book Award winner Ha Jin writes about the tribulations of life in Chinese society with dark humor and an economical but effective prose style. He has turned out remarkable novels, short stories, and poetry -- all the more remarkable considering he only began writing in English in the late 1980s.
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Ha Jin at Barnes & Noble.
Also Known As:
Date of Birth:
February 21, 1956
Place of Birth:
B.A. in English, Heilongjiang University, 1981; Ph. D. in English, Brandeis University, 1993
PEN/Hemingway award for Ocean of Words, 1996; Flannery O'Connor Award for Under the Red Flag, 1996; National Book Award for Waiting, 1999; PEN/Faulkner award for Waiting, 2000
|Jin's Latest||Published Fiction|
|A Free Life|
Meet the Wu family -- father Nan, mother Pingping, and son Taotao. They are arranging to fully sever ties with China in the aftermath of the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square, and to begin a new, free life in the United States. At first, their future seems well-assured. But after the fallout from Tiananmen, Nan's disillusionment turns him toward his first love, poetry. Leaving his studies, he takes on a variety of menial jobs as Pingping works for a wealthy widow as a cook and housekeeper. As Pingping and Taotao slowly adjust to American life, Nan still feels a strange attachment to his homeland, though he violently disagrees with Communist policy. But severing all ties proves to be more difficult than he could have ever imagined.
Ocean of Words: Army Stories (1996)|
Under the Red Flag: Stories (1997)
In the Pond (1998)
The Bridegroom (stories) (2000)
The Crazed (2002)
War Trash (2004)
A Free Life (2007)
Ha Jin chronology
|The Best Book to Read First|
Jin's moving second novel won the National Book Award for its portrayal of a doctor constrained by Chinese society, forced to wait 18 years for freedom from his arranged marriage so that he can join his true love. The author's powerful, controlled storytelling turns a simple story of unrequited love into an ironic, insightful commentary.
Read an excerpt
|Ha Jin's Favorite Works|
|Judging by the selections the author offered to Barnes & Noble.com, Ha Jin gravitates toward Russian writers -- Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Andrei Makine feature prominently among his favorites. But he also is a fan of V. S. Naipaul: He says the book that most influenced his life was Naipaul's A Bend in the River, "mainly because of its views on the past and on the relationship between the individual and the community."|
|Photo by Jerry Bauer||