segunda-feira, 31 de julho de 2017

Book Review | Waiting by Ha Jin

Set in the shadow of China's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Waiting is an easy to read novel that describes the journey of Lin Kong, a doctor in the Chinese army that for 18 years tries to divorce his wife Shuyu to be able to turn official his platonic love for the nurse Manna Wu. While every year his attempts conclude in failure and Lin faces a number of setbacks, including his lack of confidence, this novel is more than a love story.

Ha Jin captures in this book the pressures of a political environment that Westerners cannot fathom, the dichotomies between the busy city life and the placid rural existence, human longing and human weakness, as well as the eternal question as to what love really means. Lin is attached to simple-minded, bound-feet Shuyu through an arranged marriage, but he yearns to be free and marry someone whom he loves, though he does not think he ever experienced true passion and I would even say he's the most passionless character I've ever read.

The story turns cruel and bleak at times, testing the main characters' patience and reason. Descriptions were minimal, though not lacking richness. They were mainly about changes in season, with broad strokes about characters and the political climate. Though interesting, I felt the story turned quickly into a satirical view on human desire and developed into an anti-climactic ending. It was an enjoyable read, nonetheless.


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