Title Profile & Character Information

War Trash

"War Trash is Ha Jin's story on the experiences of Chinese POWs held by Americans during the Korean conflict - and paints an intimate portrait of conformity and dissent against a canvas of confrontation." "Set in 1951-53, War Trash takes the form of the memoir of Yu Yuan, a young Chinese army officer, one of a corps of "volunteers" sent by Mao to help shore up the Communist side in Korea. When Yu is captured, his command of English thrusts him into the role of unofficial interpreter in the psychological warfare that defines the POW camp." "Taking us behind the barbed wire, Ha Jin draws on true historical accounts to render the complex world the prisoners inhabit - a world of strict surveillance and complete allegiance to authority. Under the rules of war and the constraints of captivity, every human instinct is called into question, to the point that what it means to be human comes to occupy the foremost position in every prisoner's mind." "As Yu and his fellow captives struggle to create some sense of community while remaining watchful of the deceptions inherent in every exchange, only the idea of home can begin to hold out the promise that they might return to their former selves. But by the end of this novel the very concept of home will be more profoundly altered than they can even begin to imagine."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

2004  New York Times Notable Books of the Year
2005  PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Author Notes
  Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of the internationally best-selling novel Waiting, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Award; the story collections The Bridegroom, which won the Asian American Literary Award, Under the Red Flag, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Ocean of Words, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award; the novels The Crazed and In the Pond; and three books of poetry. He lives in the Boston area and is a professor of English at Boston University
NameYuan, Yu

TopicsKorean War
Prisoners of war
Power struggles
POW camp