Title: WAITING - Rare Fine Copy of The First ...
Publisher: New York City, NY: Pantheon Books, 1999
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. Signed. 308 pages. Published in 1999. The author's breakthrough second novel. One of the greatest American novels of the 20th century. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Ha Jin's "Waiting". The novel that finally brought Ha Jin mainstream, "bestseller" success in the United States and the international recognition he richly deserved after a period of obscurity. Translated into numerous languages, "Waiting" is firmly identified with Ha Jin even though he had already published a brilliant body of work that includes two poetry collections, two short story collections, and a novel. Ha Jin came to the United States as an adult barely able to speak English. He still has difficulty speaking it and has said that the main impetus for writing is the opportunity it affords him to sit down and write and re-write, edit and re-edit, and start all over again if necessary until he is satisfied with the results. He has begun and abandoned works that he has lost count of in the process. But he has learned the language to the point that he is now regarded as one of its living Masters. He uses his acquired language as an incomparable storyteller and poet of the first rank who bears witness to the collision between personal experience (in all its pain, beauty, and complexity) and the arbitrary suffering that History, Fate, and Destiny inflict upon all human beings, whether they be powerful or powerless. His sympathy for every human being in all his or her particularity is unsurpassed among contemporary American writers. "Ha Jin profoundly understands the conflict between the individual and society, between the timeless universality of the human heart and constantly shifting politics of the moment. With wisdom, restraint, and empathy for all his characters, he vividly reveals the complexities and subtleties of a world and a people we desperately need to know" (Award Citation, National Book Award). An absolute "must-have" title for Ha Jin collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed and dated in black pen in both Roman letters and Chinese characters on the title page by the author: "Ha Jin 1/14/10". It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page or bookplate. Laid-in is a pristine copy of the Souvenir Material of the event during which his signature was obtained. This title is a great book. As far as we know, this is the only such double-signed and dated copy of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A rare signed copy thus. Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for "Ocean of Words". Winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award For Short Fiction for "Under the Red Flag". Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Award in 1999 for "Waiting". One of the finest American writers of our time. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER HA JIN TITLES IN OUR CATALOG) ISBN 0375406530. Bookseller Inventory # 11454
Synopsis: Winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction!
In Waiting, PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author Ha Jin draws on his intimate knowledge of contemporary China to create a novel of unexpected richness and feeling. This is the story of Lin Kong, a man living in two worlds, struggling with the conflicting claims of two utterly different women as he moves through the political minefields of a society designed to regulate his every move and stifle the promptings of his innermost heart.
For more than seventeen years, this devoted and ambitious doctor has been in love with an educated, clever, modern woman, Manna Wu. But back in the traditional world of his home village lives the wife his family chose for him when he was young--a humble and touchingly loyal woman, whom he visits in order to ask, again and again, for a divorce. In a culture in which the ancient ties of tradition and family still hold sway and where adultery discovered by the Party can ruin lives forever, Lin's passionate love is stretched ever more taut by the passing years. Every summer, his compliant wife agrees to a divorce but then backs out. This time, Lin promises, will be different.
Tracing these lives through their summer of decision and beyond, Ha Jin vividly conjures the texture of daily life in a place where the demands of human longing must contend with the weight of centuries of custom. Waiting charms and startles us with its depiction of a China that remains hidden to Western eyes even as it moves us with its piercing vision of the universal
complications of love.
Review: "Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu." Like a fairy tale, Ha Jin's masterful novel of love and politics begins with a formula--and like a fairy tale, Waiting uses its slight, deceptively simple framework to encompass a wide range of truths about the human heart. Lin Kong is a Chinese army doctor trapped in an arranged marriage that embarrasses and repels him. (Shuyu has country ways, a withered face, and most humiliating of all, bound feet.) Nevertheless, he's content with his tidy military life, at least until he falls in love with Manna, a nurse at his hospital. Regulations forbid an army officer to divorce without his wife's consent--until 18 years have passed, that is, after which he is free to marry again. So, year after year Lin asks his wife for his freedom, and year after year he returns from the provincial courthouse: still married, still unable to consummate his relationship with Manna. Nothing feeds love like obstacles placed in its way--right? But Jin's novel answers the question of what might have happened to Romeo and Juliet had their romance been stretched out for several decades. In the initial confusion of his chaste love affair, Lin longs for the peace and quiet of his "old rut." Then killing time becomes its own kind of rut, and in the end, he is forced to conclude that he "waited eighteen years just for the sake of waiting."
There's a political allegory here, of course, but it grows naturally from these characters' hearts. Neither Lin nor Manna is especially ideological, and the tumultuous events occurring around them go mostly unnoticed. They meet during a forced military march, and have their first tender moment during an opera about a naval battle. (While the audience shouts, "Down with Japanese Imperialism!" the couple holds hands and gazes dreamily into each other's eyes.) When Lin is in Goose Village one summer, a mutual acquaintance rapes Manna; years later, the rapist appears on a TV report titled "To Get Rich Is Glorious," after having made thousands in construction. Jin resists hammering ideological ironies like these home, but totalitarianism's effects on Lin are clear:
Let me tell you what really happened, the voice said. All those years you waited torpidly, like a sleepwalker, pulled and pushed about by others' opinions, by external pressure, by your illusions, by the official rules you internalized. You were misled by your own frustration and passivity, believing that what you were not allowed to have was what your heart was destined to embrace.Ha Jin himself served in the People's Liberation Army, and in fact left his native country for the U.S. only in 1985. That a non-native speaker can produce English of such translucence and power is truly remarkable--but really, his prose is the least of the miracles here. Improbably, Jin makes an unconsummated 18-year love affair loom as urgent as political terror or war, while history-changing events gain the immediacy of a domestic dilemma. Gracefully phrased, impeccably paced, Waiting is the kind of realist novel you thought was no longer being written. --Mary Park
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