Book - 2000
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An ambitious and dedicated Chinese doctor, Lin Kong finds himself torn between two very different women--the educated and dynamic nurse with whom he has fallen in love and his traditional, meek, and humble wife.
Publisher: New York : Vintage International, 2000, ©1999
Edition: 1st Vintage International edition
ISBN: 9780375706417
Branch Call Number: FICTION Jin
Description: 308 pages ; 21 cm


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RogerDeBlanck Jun 30, 2018

Taking place in China, Waiting examines one man’s dilemma to escape his arranged marriage of nearly twenty years by divorcing his wife. Lin Kong is a successful and respected physician in the Chinese People’s Army. He has been a loyal servant of his family and country, but his passions belong to Manna Wu, a nurse at the hospital where Lin practices at. The novel charts Lin’s eighteen years of frustration to divorce his wife, while at the same time the local government and hospital administration keep a watchful eye on him. They would prefer he adhere to a restrictive civil code of exemplary moral conduct. Lin’s plight illuminates the predicament of an individual trying to pursue happiness under the monitoring glare of China’s Communist Republic. This novel is one of Ha Jin's best works.

Oct 28, 2017

This is a fun fiction to read with a dash of reality mixed in. I particularly enjoy the description of the brother-in-law who is such an antagonist and I can name a few people I know in my life that has such a diabolical mind. I want to laugh or cry about some of the twist in the story line.
At the end of the novel, I want to kick Dr. Kong in the ass. How can someone be so passive and conservative that they ruin their own life? What's the point of living? Idealize romanticism vs practical reality which will win out? Which is better? At the end of the novel he kind of get what he deserved. I sense the author doesn't care much for the straight and narrow. I personally tend to stay away from such types because its kind of aggravating to witness their choices.

BostonPL_LauraB Mar 02, 2016

I was a little worried that the writing in this was going to be like other major award winners - over fanciful and pretentious - but thankfully, it wasn't. This novel wasn't bad, and I quite like the writing, but unfortunately the plot (of which there was not much of) was slow and boring. When I arrived at the end of the book, I found that I couldn't really give any reasons to read this book, and so I wouldn't immediately recommend this novel. Because although it wasn't bad, it just wasn't particularly memorable either. This is pretty firmly in the "meh" category for me. However, if you already have the intention of wanting to read this novel, I wouldn't tell you not to read it either. I don't know if any of that make sense, but I think it pretty much describes a 3/5 star book for me.

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 16, 2014

In this winner of the National Book Award, Ha Jin portrays contemporary China after the Cultural Revolution. The limitations imposed by tradition conflict with his characters’ modern expectations for love. His haiku-like prose thoughtfully details one man’s determination to find love, no matter how long the wait.

Jul 30, 2014

Recommended reading for those who are attracted to "emotionally unavailable" partners.

Oct 25, 2012

Just discovered this author. Loved the book especially the note on which it ended - cruel humour, but so funny and so, simply HUMAN and man-like :)

May 16, 2012

What struck me was its honesty. You may downright dislike some of the characters, it’s almost impossible not too as they seem to make such ludicrous life choices. Once I turned off my inclination to judge, to shut down my mind set of always thinking like a westerner, I thoroughly enjoyed this simple, fable-like tale. Ha Jin offers poetic insight into a foreign way of life. I believe I came away from this with a little better understanding of Chinese society. Found it interesting that the author based this on a true story. Winner of The National Book Award of 1999

hermlou Oct 30, 2011

Takes place in Communist China. Dr. Lin Kong is married to Shuyu and falls in love with Manna, a nurse in the hospital. There is strict regulation of a courtship and a strict rule about having only one child. Interesting story includes details of customs and meals which differ from ours, but the emotions are the same. I enjoyed the plot and writing style.

Amandatoryrant May 03, 2011

Beautiful writing, interesting story, compelling characters. I repeatedly recommend this book and author to friends looking for something out of their usual range.

Dec 11, 2010

1999 National Book Award - Fiction

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SPL_STARR Jun 23, 2015

"Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu."


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