Nanjing Requiem

Nanjing Requiem

by Ha Jin
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Overview

Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin

The award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash returns to his homeland in a searing new novel that unfurls during one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century: the Rape of Nanjing.

In 1937, with the Japanese poised to invade Nanjing, Minnie Vautrin—an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women’s College—decides to remain at the school, convinced that her American citizenship will help her safeguard the school and the welfare of the Chinese men and women who work there. She is painfully mistaken. In the aftermath of the invasion, the school becomes a refugee camp for nearly 10,000 homeless women and children, and Vautrin must struggle, day after day, to intercede on behalf of the hapless victims. Even when order and civility are restored, Vautrin remains deeply embattled, and she is haunted by the lives she could not save.
 
With extraordinarily evocative precision, Ha Jin re-creates the terror, the harrowing deprivations, and the menace of unexpected violence that defined life in Nanjing during the occupation. In Minnie Vautrin he has given us an indelible portrait of a woman whose convictions and bravery prove, in the end, no match for the maelstrom of history. At once epic and intimate, Nanjing Requiem is historical fiction at its most resonant, from one of the most acclaimed Chinese American writers of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307379764
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/18/2011
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Ha Jin’s previous books include the internationally best-selling Waiting, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Award; War Trash, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award; the story collections Under the Red Flag, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Ocean of Words, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award; and three books of poetry.

Hometown:

Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

February 21, 1956

Place of Birth:

Liaoning, China

Education:

B.A. in English, Heilongjiang University, 1981; Ph. D. in English, Brandeis University, 1993

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Nanjing Requiem 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1937, the Japanese occupation force takes control of Nanjing with a brutal violence to insure the suppressed population could not rebel. American missionary dean of Jinling Women's College Minnie Vautrin is horrified with what she witnesses and what she hears as the Japanese army terrorizes civilians with mass slaughter and rape. She and her assistant Anling Gao open the college as a shelter to the homeless. While the Japanese threaten to destroy her school and her, Minnie continues to act as the "Goddess of Mercy" to over ten thousand battle fatigued women and children. Anling bears her own demon in secret. Her daughter in law is Japanese so though she desperately wants to welcome her son's wife and worse her grandchild as her kin, she cannot acknowledge them if she does not want to become a pariah in her community and ineffective in assisting Minnie. She takes solace with her work helping the Goddess of Mercy perform miracles by risking their lives. Still both women feel tormented by those they could not save from the horrific murdering and raping of Nanking. With a nod to Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanjing, Ha Jin provides a powerful cautionary historical thriller with a focus on the real life missionary who the author makes a strong case deserves international legendary status for what she did at a sacrifice to herself. Reading somewhat like a biographical fiction, Anling tells the tale of her boss' efforts and sacrifice to rescue the beleaguered unprotected civilians from a reign of terror. Harriet Klausner
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