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In the Pond

A Novel

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Paperback published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
National Book Award-winner Ha Jin's arresting debut novel ,  In the Pond, is a darkly funny portrait of an amateur calligrapher who wields his delicate artist's brush as a weapon against the powerful party bureaucrats who rule his provincial Chinese town.

Shao Bin is a downtrodden worker at the Harvest Fertilizer Plant by day and an aspiring artist by night. Passed over on the list to receive a decent apartment for his young family, while those in favor with the party's leaders are selected ahead of him, Shao Bin chafes at his powerlessness. When he attempts to expose his corrupt superiors by circulating satirical cartoons, he provokes an escalating series of merciless counterattacks that send ripples beyond his small community. Artfully crafted and suffused with earthy wit, In the Pond is a moving tale about humble lives caught up in larger social forces.
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National Book Award-winner Ha Jin's arresting debut novel ,  In the Pond, is a darkly funny portrait of an amateur calligrapher who wields his delicate artist's brush as a weapon against the powerful party bureaucrats who rule his provincial Chinese town.

Shao Bin is a downtrodden worker at the Harvest Fertilizer Plant by day and an aspiring artist by night. Passed over on the list to receive a decent apartment for his young family, while those in favor with the party's leaders are selected ahead of him, Shao Bin chafes at his powerlessness. When he attempts to expose his corrupt superiors by circulating satirical cartoons, he provokes an escalating series of merciless counterattacks that send ripples beyond his small community. Artfully crafted and suffused with earthy wit, In the Pond is a moving tale about humble lives caught up in larger social forces.
Product Details
Paperback (192 pages)
Published: March 21, 2000
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780375709111
Other books byHa Jin
  • A Free Life

    A Free Life
    A New York Times Notable Book One of the Best Books of the Year: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Entertainment Weekly, Slate  In A Free Life, Ha Jin follows the Wu family — father Nan, mother Pingping, and son Taotao — as they sever their ties with China in the aftermath of the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square and begin a new life in the United States. As Nan takes on a number of menial jobs, eventually operating a restaurant with Pingping, he struggles to adapt to the American way of life and to hold his family together, even as he pines for a woman he loved and lost in his youth. Ha Jin's prodigious talents are in full force as he brilliantly brings to life the struggles and successes of the contemporary immigrant experience.

    A Good Fall

    A Good Fall
    In his first book of stories since The Bridegroom, National Book Award-winning author Ha Jin gives us a collection that delves into the experience of Chinese immigrants in America. A lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend's parakeet; young children decide to change their names so they might sound more "American," unaware of how deeply this will hurt their grandparents; a Chinese professor of English attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student. All of Ha Jin's characters struggle to remain loyal to their homeland and its traditions while also exploring the freedom that life in a new country offers. Stark, deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous, A Good Fall reminds us once again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer.

    Waiting

    Waiting
    A Novel
    "In Waiting, Ha Jin portrays the life of Lin Kong, a dedicated doctor torn by his love for two women: one who belongs to the New China of the Cultural Revolution, the other to the ancient traditions of his family's village. 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."--Judges' Citation, National Book Award "Ha Jin's novel could hardly be less theatrical, yet we're immediately engaged by its narrative structure, by its wry humor and by the subtle, startling shifts it produces in our understanding of characters and their situation."--The New York Times Book Review "Subtle and complex--his best work to date. A moving meditation on the effects of time upon love."--The Washington Post "A high achievement indeed."--Ian Buruma, The New York Review of Books "A portrait of Chinese provincial life that terrifies with its emptiness even more than with its all-pervasive vulgarity. The poet in [Jin] intersperses these human scenes with achingly beautiful vignettes of natural beauty."--Los Angeles Times "A simple love story that transcends cultural barriers--. From the idyllic countryside to the small towns in northeast China, Jin's depictions are filled with an earthy poetic grace--. Jin's account of daily life in China is convincing and rich in detail."--The Chicago Tribune "Compassionate, earthy, robust, and wise, Waiting blends provocative allegory with all-too-human comedy. The result touches and reveals, bringing to life a singular world in its spectacular intricacy."--Gish Jen, author of Who's Irish? "A remarkable love story. Ha Jin's understanding of the human heart and the human condition transcends borders and time. Waiting is an outstanding literary achievement."--Lisa See, author of On Gold Mountain

    The Crazed

    The Crazed
    A New York Times Notable Book A Washington Post, Los Angeles times, and San Jose Mercury News Best Book of the Year Ha Jin’s seismically powerful new novel is at once an unblinking look into the bell jar of communist Chinese society and a portrait of the eternal compromises and deceptions of the human state. When the venerable professor Yang, a teacher of literature at a provincial university, has a stroke, his student Jian Wan is assigned to care for him. Since the dutiful Jian plans to marry his mentor’s beautiful, icy daughter, the job requires delicacy. Just how much delicacy becomes clear when Yang begins to rave. Are these just the outpourings of a broken mind, or is Yang speaking the truth—about his family, his colleagues, and his life’s work? And will bearing witness to the truth end up breaking poor Jian’s heart? Combining warmth and intimacy with an unsparing social vision, The Crazed is Ha Jin’s most enthralling book to date.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
  • Shao Bin felt sick of Dismount Fort, a commune town where he had lived for over six years.

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