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Download A Good Fall: Stories Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Good Fall: Stories Audiobook, by Ha Jin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (788 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ha Jin Narrator: Bernadette Dunne, Carrington MacDuffie, Scott Brick, Tai Sammons, Ray Porter, Robertson Dean, Paul Michael Garcia, Anthony Heald, Kate Reading, Eddie Lopez, Malcolm Hillgartner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9781455195664
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National Book Award-winner Ha Jin brings us a collection of stories that delve into the experiences of Chinese immigrants in America. All of Ha Jin’s characters struggle in situations that stir their conflicting desires to remain attached to their native land and traditions while also exploring their newfound social and economic freedoms.

A lonely composer takes comfort in the songs of his girlfriend’s parakeet; a group of young children declare their wish to change their names so that they might sound more “American,” unaware of how deeply this will sadden their grandparents; a Chinese professor of English attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student. In each of these deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous stories we are reminded again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Quiet, careful, restrained prose—prose whose absence of flourish can, at times, make it all the more eloquent.”

    New York Times Book Review 

  • “In short, the storyteller’s art is richly on display here. Ha Jin has a singular talent for snaring a reader. His premises are gripping, his emotional bedrock hard and true…captivating.”

    Washington Post

  • “This may be Ha Jin’s best work yet, his stories often ascending to the mystical penumbra we expect of Singer, Malamud, or O’Connor.”

    Huffington Post

  • “[Jin] is a master of the straightforward line; he makes the most of his sparseness…no-frills sentences about Chinese immigrants who lead no-frills lives in New York.”

    New Republic

  • “Jin employs a simple, workmanlike style to match the lives of his characters. But instead of feeling flat-footed, his unvarnished prose adds a no-nonsense charm to the stories.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “Ha Jin’s masterful storytelling persists—meticulous, droll, convincing, populated with memorable characters—not to mention the indelible portrait of an immigrant life he gives us. What is also consistent is his prowess to study and reveal, often with heartfelt humor, the compromised and damaged heart and soul and the impact of time and history on ordinary people.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “National Book Award–winner Ha Jin continues his intimate, up-close look at Chinese immigrant life in A Good Fall with twelve stories…all artfully turned out in Jin’s quietly seismic style.”

    Elle

  • “A collection of sublime moments…Perhaps Jin’s point is that despite all the suffering and turmoil involved in living in America, the strong may triumph here after all. It’s a message worth hearing these days.”

    Denver Post

  • “His best work so far, this collection includes immortal stories of the immigrant experience, comparable to the best of Malamud and Singer.”

    Kansas City Star, Top 100 Books

  • “In this new collection of stories, former Emory University professor Ha Jin reflects on the life of Chinese immigrants in America, crafting each fleeting portrait with a spare precision and attention to detail uncanny for a relative newcomer to the English language.”

    Atlanta magazine

  • “Everyone in A Good Fall struggles with past and present, and Ha Jin requires dynamic change of them all…these understated clashes of culture reveal careful thematic design and provide an almost 360-degree view of this select human experience: The concerns of people everywhere trying to make a better life come alive, one deceptively simple story at a time.”

    Miami Herald

  • “Included [here] are the rich imagery, attention to detail and wry humor that are Jin’s stock in trade and that, when taken together, offer—as fellow writer Francine Prose has noted—‘a compelling exploration of the…terrain that is the human heart.’”

    Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

  • “The author, whose novel Waiting won the National Book Award in 1999, writes with warmth and humor about what it means to be a bewildered stranger in a strange land, no matter where one is born.”

    People magazine

  • “With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one’s place in America…With piercing insight, Jin paints a vast, fascinating portrait of a neighborhood and a people in flux.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Twelve engrossing, visceral tales about the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants in America…Jin’s prose (and particularly his dialogue) is baldly direct, without flourishes but not without nuance.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “In his first story collection since 2000, Jin offers twelve visceral tales that read with the immediacy of videotaped interviews. Set in Queens, New York, they illuminate the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants grappling with exploitative employers, demanding relatives, and the rub between American and Chinese attitudes towards family.”

    Barnes and Noble.com, Best Short Story Collections of 2009

  • “Each story is interesting and well narrated…Thanks to superb performances by the full cast, the distinct voices transition beautifully from the page to the ear…a great production.”

    AudioFile

  • “Jin again captures the smallest details to create uniquely resonating portraits of everyday people…Jin’s writing clearly has mass appeal, most notably exemplified by National Book Award winner Waiting. This new work will be welcomed by any reader and is an excellent companion piece to The Bridegroom, a collection whose characters are the Chinese counterparts of characters featured here.”

    Library Journal

  • “Ha Jin’s ear and eye for Chinese American life are acute, as is his sense of how one life can encompass a full spectrum of irony, desperation, and magic…The quest for freedom yields surprising and resonant complications in Ha Jin’s sorrowful, funny, and bittersweet stories.”

    Booklist

  • “These tales are at once universal and particular…Jin writes with a direct, unfussy style that captures the odd cadences of these lives lived in transition…Jin tells every character’s story with a mixture of compassion and humor, conveying the validity of his or her daily worries but showing too that, as with all human complications, and no matter our cultural heritage, we are often our own worst enemies.”

    BookPage

  • “There are eleven readers for the twelve short stories. All were good selections for the particular story they read, some even demonstrating an appropriate accent which added to the ambience. Every reader captured the emotional struggles of the various characters. Excellent listening.”

    Soundcommentary.com

  • A Kansas City Star Top 100 Book
  • Selected for the December 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Coyner Kelley | 2/9/2014

    " I have read two of the stories and am eager to read more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathy Aquila | 2/4/2014

    " 3 1/2 stars. I don't often read short stories but made an exception for Ha Jin's collection. Well told stories of the difficulties Asian immigrants face when trying to adjust to the American way of life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kyle | 2/3/2014

    " Jin's collection of short stories focuses on the experiences of Chinese immigrants dealing with issues ranging from having to support family members still in China, forced prostitution to pay off the debt associated with coming to the United States, and grandparents dealing with Americanized grandchildren. Though the book did provide some insight on the challenges and difficulties immigrants face, it seemed the focus of the stories was these specific issues and not on the characters themselves. So despite some interesting premises for each story (a man and a woman live together as husband and wife as they try to build enough money to bring over their real spouses from China) I felt the stories fizzled due to my lack of interest in the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Teatea | 2/3/2014

    " Consists of many short stories about Chinese Americans. Most of the stories are interesting but they are short and when some stories really have drawn my interest, it just ended and left me wonder what would have happened afterwards. I feel like some of the stories should have developed a little longer; like I had finished the appetizers, and starting the main course, then the plate was taking away from me, which still left me hungry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 1/29/2014

    " A delightful collection of short stories portraying various aspects of the Chinese American experience in Queens. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 K Yuan | 12/29/2013

    " Ha Jin's simplistic style allows us to focus more on the plot, and I find that a refreshing change. Although the directly translated phrases (rice barrel :D) might seem a little odd to some readers, but being the child of Chinese immigrants I can relate to that and that does add a nice touch of authenticity. :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Taliser | 12/28/2013

    " Crisp, clear writing & engaging stories about lives of Chinese immigrants in New York City. Written by a Boston University professor, got to love local authors! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret Thomson | 12/26/2013

    " Stories of Chinese immigrants to America (mostly illegal). Good writing, interesting stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Phoenix | 12/15/2013

    " Ha Jin writes in English, his second language, with a subtlety that can't be matched. His stories show the human codition as it is, tenuous, frail and all too subject to the whims of others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marian | 11/12/2013

    " started off strong in the beginning short stories. loved the change of pace from his other books. however, all the characters started to sound the same from middle to end. but that is quite a challenge for a writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzette | 10/2/2013

    " I read Waiting and War Trash. Decided to give him one more shot. I still don't think he's a great writer. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tom Barker | 6/13/2013

    " Chinese immigrant stories set in Flushing Queens with happy, sad and complicated endings. Missing some of the black humor from his older stuff. Ha Jin is a great writer in general but short stories are still his strongest work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julayne | 4/6/2013

    " Not as good as Waiting but still a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 8/11/2012

    " Ha Jin, what can I say. Once you start reading, you can't stop. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie | 1/24/2012

    " Absolutely wonderful. There were some stories that I wished would've kept going-- that I wished were novel- length. Each story gives such a detailed, personal glimpse into the lives of the characters... Also, such an interesting depiction of the immigrant experience in the US "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bryan Harding | 10/10/2011

    " I have read previous books from Ha Jin and love his storytelling abilities. He draws the reader into his story with just enough details to get you involved, yet the stories are quick hits...kind of like eating donut holes. One donut hole is good, but you can't wait to eat the next one! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gayla Bassham | 7/28/2011

    " Eh. I'm being pretty generous with three stars. I used to love Ha Jin, but I feel like he keeps repeating himself less and less effectively. Not a single truly memorable story in this collection. In fairness, it is probably suffering in comparison to Gold Boy, Emerald Girl: Stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 5/17/2011

    " Ha Jin is so good a portraying the Chinese immigrant experience in sentiments that can touch everyone. His writing is very straightforward and he always gets the emotions right. This is a book of stories and every one is a gem. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carew | 4/10/2011

    " Loving this so far. Wonderful short stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 3/22/2011

    " Ha Jin writes in English, his second language, with a subtlety that can't be matched. His stories show the human codition as it is, tenuous, frail and all too subject to the whims of others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eleanor | 2/20/2011

    " he is one of my fav authors. i like how his everyday experience captures verbs and adjectives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Taliser | 2/7/2011

    " Crisp, clear writing & engaging stories about lives of Chinese immigrants in New York City. Written by a Boston University professor, got to love local authors! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 1/24/2011

    " Ha Jin shines as a short fiction writer- he tells stories of the small moments in life that may end up defining or changing ones' life. His style is clean and simple and honest. Very recommended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Victoria | 1/16/2011

    " One or two good ones - the others feel strangely unfinished - perhaps a language mismatch. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julayne | 12/29/2010

    " Not as good as Waiting but still a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathy | 11/30/2010

    " 3 1/2 stars. I don't often read short stories but made an exception for Ha Jin's collection. Well told stories of the difficulties Asian immigrants face when trying to adjust to the American way of life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doris | 11/26/2010

    " This is a collection of short stories focusing on the plight of Chinese immigrants in the United States. Clear, interesting writing leaves me eager to read one of his novels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scotchneat | 11/1/2010

    " There's nothing really profound in Jin's short stories. But they offer little bits of insight into Asian experiences in America - a point-of-view that I don't read from very often.

    "

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About the Author
Author Ha Jin

Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of eight novels, four story collections, a book of essays, and six books of poetry. He received the National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, the PEN/ Hemingway Award, the Asian American Literary Award, and the Flannery O’Connor Award, among others. His novel War Trash was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2014 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is director of the creative writing program at Boston University.

About the Narrators

Bernadette Dunne is the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. She studied at the Royal National Theatre in London and the Studio Theater in Washington, DC, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center and off Broadway. She lives in Brooklyn.

Carrington MacDuffie is a voice actor and recording artist who has narrated over two hundred audiobooks, received numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has been a frequent finalist for the Audie Award, including for her original audiobook, Many Things Invisible. Alongside her narration work, she has released a new album of original songs, Only an Angel.

Scott Brick, actor, narrator, and writer, attended UCLA and spent ten years in a traveling Shakespeare company. Passionate about the spoken word, he has narrated a wide variety of audiobooks, from thrillers and science fiction to classics and nonfiction. He has recorded more than eight hundred audiobooks and won over fifty AudioFile Earphones Awards and several of the prestigious Audie Awards. He was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine and the Voice of Choice for 2016 by Booklist magazine.

Tai Sammons earned her degree in theater from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where she worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. This award-winning actress currently resides upstate in Portland, with her beloved black pug, Oscar.

Ray Porter has garnered fourteen Earphones Awards, two Audie nominations, and a multitude of enthusiastic reviews for his sparkling narration of audiobooks. He has also appeared in numerous films and television shows, including Frasier, ER, Will & Grace, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and Almost Famous. He has most recently received Audible’s Narrator of the Year Award. He is a fifteen-year veteran of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.

Paul Michael Garcia, an AudioFile Earphones Award winner and former company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, received his classical training in theater from Southern Oregon University, where he worked as an actor, director, and designer.

Anthony Heald, an Audie Award–winning narrator, has earned Tony nominations and an Obie Award for his theater work; appeared in television’s Law & Order, The X-Files, Miami Vice, and Boston Public; and starred as Dr. Frederick Chilton in the 1991 Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his family.

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received numerous Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.

Eddie Lopez, a northern California native, earned his BFA in theater from the California Institute of the Arts. He has worked professionally in Los Angeles as an actor and is currently with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He began recording audiobooks for family road trips at the age of eight on his home cassette deck.

Malcolm Hillgartner is an actor, author, playwright, and professional narrator. Under the name Jahnna N. Malcolm, he and his wife, Jahnna Beecham, have written over one hundred books for young readers; their musicals have played in theaters across America. His audiobook credits include works by Dean Koontz, Nelson Algren, and William F. Buckley Jr.