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The award winning author of Waiting and War Trash returns to his homeland in a searing new novel that unfurls during one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century the Rape of Nanjing In with the Japanese poised to invade Nanjing Minnie Vautrin an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women’s College decides to remain at the school convinced that her American citizenship will help her safeguard the welf. Rarely do I uit a book once started but I closed Nanjing Reuiem after about 140 pages Ha Jin wanted to write a history of the Rape of Nanjing in the form of a novel The result was stilted showing poor development of characters and plot and without narrative flow Minnie and Anling went here went there went here again went therethe Japanese did this the Japanese did that this doesn t make a novel Ha Jin s War Trash was well done It contained all the elements of a good novel lacking in Nanjing Reuiem I recommend Iris Chang s The Rape of Nanking It is a straightforward non fiction account without the feebly applied fictionalized aspects of Ha Jin s book

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Nanking Reuiem

Are of the Chinese men and women who work there She is painfully mistaken In the aftermath of the invasion the school becomes a refugee camp for than ten thousand homeless women and children and Vautrin must struggle day after day to intercede on behalf of the hapless victims Even when order and civility are eventually restored Vautrin remains deeply embattled and she is haunted by the lives she could not saveWith ex. too boringthis reads like journalism not a novel

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Traordinarily evocative precision Ha Jin re creates the terror the harrowing deprivations and the menace of unexpected violence that defined life in Nanjing during the occupation In Minnie Vautrin he has given us an indelible portrait of a woman whose convictions and bravery prove in the end to be no match for the maelstrom of history At once epic and intimate Nanjing Reuiem is historical fiction at its most resonan. I really wanted to like this book Jin s Waiting and The Crazed are two of my favorite books and I pre ordered this book on so I could get it as soon as it came outI was underwhelmed though While I did learn a lot about the occupation of Nanjing and especially the role of foreigners in the city during the time the book was strangely unengaging The book is all told at a strange emotional remove making the storytelling seem wooden and sometimes strained Jin also had the very bad habit of not telling things as they happen seuentially but mentioning past events only when they are part of the arc of the current event This is no simply non chronological storytelling but instead a fractured discontinuous narrative Instead of letting all of the events build together story arcs are pulled out and dealt with somewhat separately so that it is a series of vignettes and not one arcing narrativeSometimes I wondered if the storytelling was hampered by the fact that is is about actual people and actual events and it made Jin hesitant to write with his normal emotional resonance because he didn t want to climb into the heads of actual people The story seemed particularly ill served by the first person narration of his fictionalized character nothing than a cipher that Jin used to tell the stories of the other peopleThe tragic arc of Minnie Vautrin is so moving but it s real emotional power was lost a bit in this disjointed and detached novel


10 thoughts on “Nanking Reuiem

  1. says:

    Rarely do I uit a book once started but I closed Nanjing Reuiem after about 140 pages Ha Jin wanted to write a history of the Rape of Nanjing in the form of a novel The result was stilted showing poor development of characters and plot and without narrative flow Minnie and Anling went here went there went here again went therethe Japanese

  2. says:

    I read this book because I thought a novel would be a better way for me to read about the Japanese occupation of Nanjing Reportage of atrocities can de sensitize us so that they have less impact and you care less about the victims Fiction with characterization where you see into the minds and hearts of the characters and see thei

  3. says:

    I appreciate what the author has done here educated us about the rape Nanjing I didn't know a thing about it till I picked up this book But where I was expecting a historical novel about a strong missionary woman named Minnie I got

  4. says:

    Ha Jin never goes for the jugular His cool reserved style works to his advantage in Nanjing Reuiem The facts are so horrific that l

  5. says:

    too boringthis reads like journalism not a novel

  6. says:

    Ha Jin provides an empathetic history in his telling of this event that is freuently overlooked in our tellings o

  7. says:

    Sadly I don't have anything positive to say about this book It's been on my to read list for ages and I've long been inte

  8. says:

    I really wanted to like this book Jin's Waiting and The Crazed are two of my favorite books and I pre ordered this book on so I cou

  9. says:

    While I found the opening sections of this book riveting and horrifying the slow pace and dwelling on minute details left me struggling to keep up my interest as the novel progressed Clearly a subject worthy of exploration and revelation but I couldn't help but compare it unfavorably with classic historical novelizations like All uiet on the Western Front or last year's The Sojourn

  10. says:

    I found this to be a very interesting novel about Jinling Women’s College in Nanjing in 1937 as the Japanese invade the city One of the most horrifying sites of war crimes this novel focuses on Minnie Vautrin’s extrao