Title Profile & Character Information

Waiting

Annotation
Winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction! InWaiting, 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.

Awards
1999  National Book Awards
1999  Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
2000  PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
2000  American Library Association Notable Books

Characters
NameKong, Lin
GendersMale
 Male
OccupationsDoctor
 Military officer
 Doctor
 Military officer
TraitsMarried
Father
Married
Father

NameShuyu
GendersFemale
 Female
TraitsMarried
Mother
Married
Mother

NameWu, Manna
GendersFemale
 Female
OccupationsNurse
 Nurse

GenreHistorical
Love story
Sociological
Fiction
TopicsCultural Revolution
Arranged marriage
Loveless marriage
Divorce
Tradition
Love affairs
Duty
Cultural Revolution
Arranged marriage
Loveless marriage
Divorce
Tradition
Love affairs
Duty
SettingChina
China