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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (9,864 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ha Jin Narrator: Dick Hill Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2004 ISBN: 9781596004733
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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 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 demand 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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Luminous…Eloquent…[Waiting] provides…a crash course in Chinese society during and since the Cultural Revolution, and a more leisurely but nonetheless compelling exploration of the less exotic terrain that is the human heart.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A vivid bit of storytelling, fluid and earthy…Reminiscent of Hemingway in its scope, simplicity, and precise language…A graceful human allegory.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “Achingly beautiful…Ha Jin depicts the details of social etiquette, of food, of rural family relationships and the complex yet alarmingly primitive fabric of provincial life with that absorbed passion for minutiae characteristic of Dickens and Balzac.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “Subtle and complex…His best work to date. A moving meditation on the effects of time upon love.”

    Washington Post

  • “Remarkable…Compellingly ingenious…Gorgeously cinematic.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “A wry, lovely novel…Unexpectedly moving…So quietly and carefully told that…we read on patiently, pleasantly distracted, wondering when something will happen. Only when we’ve finished do we understand just how much has, and how much waiting can be its own painful reward.”

    Newsday

  • “A subtle beauty…A sad, poignantly funny tale.”

    Boston Sunday Globe

  • “Impeccably deadpan…A deliciously comic novel.”

    Time

  • “A wonderfully ironic novel…Complex and sad as life…It captures the difficulties of love in totalitarian China with sharp prose and a convincing portrayal of human vagaries.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “[Jin] reveals some startlingly original insights on human life and love…in a narrative that dazzles…with its simplicity and grace.”

    Providence Sunday Journal

  • “[Waiting is] a masterpiece of realism and a work of ironic allegory…Through an accumulation of small, deft brushstrokes, twentieth century China is superimposed onto the landscape of an ancient, painted scroll.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Enlightening…A delicate rendering of the universal complications of love…Ha Jin’s natural storytelling quietly captures the texture of daily life in a dual Chinese culture…No detail is extraneous in this sad, funny, and often wise novel.”

    Village Voice

  • Winner of the 2000 PEN/Faulkner Award
  • A 2000 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Fiction
  • Winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction
  • A 1999 Time Magazine Best Book for Fiction
  • An ALA Notable Book Finalist for Fiction
  • A 1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenny | 2/16/2014

    " This was a sad, sad story. It rang true in a way that I'm not ready to process yet. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 kelli | 2/6/2014

    " Every fiber in my being rebels against the choices made by the characters in this book and maybe that's why I liked it so much. The main characters are a Chinese couple trying to create and maintain a relationship through China's Cultural Revolution and its aftermath. It spans 20 years of the couple's relationship. The major stumbling block to the relationship is the Chinese government and two protagonists who have a difficult time taking bold action. It seems their timing is always wrong - especially since they met when one of them was already married. The other oddity of the book is that even though the main characters were a doctor and a nurse, they never really discuss this aspect of their lives. Their job seems to be attending lectures on the Communist system, joining groups to glorify the Party, and avoiding the landmines of living in a centralized military system. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie O'Connell | 2/5/2014

    " I had trouble rating this book because part of me hated it because it was so agonizing. But, I kind of think that was the point, so I wanted to give it a pretty high rating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Izzy | 2/4/2014

    " This is better as a completed book than as a reading experience. The plot moves slowly, though it's swaddled in lots of lovely prose, and it's not until the end that it starts to feel like anything actually happened. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Serena Alibhai | 1/25/2014

    " Gorgeous story. The characters sucked me in and I felt close to them. I became addicted to this book. I believe this author created a work of genius. Simple, yet complex in how he portrayed human nature. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn | 1/16/2014

    " What a strange book. Not much happens, and yet I couldn't help but keep the pages turning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Winnie | 1/5/2014

    " The demands of human longing contend with the weight of centuries of custom in acclaimed author Ha Jin's Waiting, a novel of unexpected richness and universal resonance. Every summer Lin Kong, a doctor in the Chinese Army, returns to his village to end his loveless marriage with the humble and touchingly loyal Shuyu. But each time Lin must return to the city to tell Manna Wu, the educated, modern nurse he loves, that they will have to postpone their engagement once again. Caught between conflicting claims of these two utterly different women and trapped by a culture in which adultery can ruin lives and careers, Lin has been waiting for eighteen years. This year, he promises, will be different. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alana | 1/1/2014

    " I read this for book club without knowing anything about the book or the author. It had some interesting cultural history, but also well-expressed themes that carried on throughout the novel. I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frank Romagosa | 12/20/2013

    " the book's story is given to us by its title, perhaps too readily .. the first two-thirds of the book is a long and overly slow-going prologue, during which we wait as much as do the novel's characters .. the story is the motion of these characters, the context surprisingly anonymous .. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Soni | 11/3/2013

    " This was a slower book, and it involved a lot of waiting but at the end it was a good story, not to much internal thinking, just an easy read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cathy | 10/25/2013

    " It took me forever to read this book. I was "waiting" to finish it! I would put it off for days at a time because I was just not excited to read it. It is award-winning, but to me, it was very dry, not very exciting, very slow-moving, and a sad story about unfulfilled lives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Magdalena | 10/22/2013

    " Good, not overwhelming. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tio | 10/22/2013

    " Bacanya capek, berbelit - belit.. sebenarnya gw blom selesai bacanya krn ya itu berbelit - belit dan monoton ng kena jd males... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josie | 5/22/2013

    " The title of the book is perefct. There was a great sense of waiting throughout the entire novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin Duncan | 5/10/2013

    " I struggled to get through the book... after about page 100 it picked up for me a little and became a little more interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gerald Kinro | 2/24/2013

    " Like the main character in this National Book Award winner, I opted for patience and read every word. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Candice | 8/25/2012

    " Boring, boring, boring. You'll be waiting, waiting, waiting, for it to get interesting... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ally | 8/6/2012

    " A little slow...and I am not sure if I like the main characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yenny | 7/14/2012

    " Kesabaran & penantian itu penuh pengorbanan tapi belum tentu berakhir dengan kebahagiaan... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bubb | 4/17/2012

    " Excellent insight onto everyday life in 60's China. Not as good as War Trash. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sylvia | 11/15/2011

    " It showed the pace and strictness inside the life of rural China. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marie | 5/5/2011

    " Fascinating.... his new book out now reminded me how much I loved this book and wanted to recommend it to others "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Librarian | 5/2/2011

    " So good it hurt my innards a little. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miki | 4/24/2011

    " 'Waiting' reminds me very much of 'The Good Earth' or 'Wild Swans', which I primarily enjoyed for their portrayals of Chinese society. I wouldn't say that 'Waiting' is a bad book, but it's not particularly well written. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kerith | 12/15/2010

    " Distressing book - exactly what I feel that marriage is an example of the economic theory of "winner's curse." Lin Kong is cowardly and selfish - he doesn't deserve Manna Wu. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paula | 11/1/2010

    " Highly recommended.... I couldn't wait to get on the train every morning so I could read it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 7/4/2010

    " I enjoyed War Trash more, but I thought this was another excellent book. I love how he gets so close to the characters, that you can understand the society they live in. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yeti | 3/3/2010

    " A brilliant book. Set at the time of the crisis at Tianemen. It's rather simplistic compared to other texts - simplistic structure wise. But the themes he deals with are applicable to everyone. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Speakswithbears | 12/14/2009

    " This book only started getting good on the last page. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chrystal | 10/27/2009

    " I love Ha Jin. I read this title in one sitting (um, I was up until 3 am) His works are very straightforward and simple, but filled with insight. This story is about a chinese professor who goes insane and the fallout for those around him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roger | 9/16/2009

    " The first book I read by Ha Jin. I will read more.

    "Seek not material gain, but something more significant to your being - something that can make you feel your life is properly used and fulfilled." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebbycarey | 9/12/2009

    " A particularly timely book since the Olympics are happening now and they are in Beijing. This book was pretty small but fascinating - and then took a political turn at the end "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeffrey | 8/13/2009

    " Not one of his best efforts I'm afraid, but still interesting. A university student is attending the bedside of his professor who is very ill. The professor is lucid only at intervals. There is a peripheral love story that is interesting. "

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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 Narrator

Dick Hill, named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, is one of the most awarded narrators in the business, having earned several Audie Awards and thirty-four AudioFile Earphones Awards. In addition to narrating, he has both acted in and written for the theater.