Thursday, May 17, 2007

Book Review: The Bridegroom

The Bridegroom is a collection of short stories by Chinese-American author Ha Jin.
"...Reversals, transformations, and surprises abound in these assured stories, as Ha Jin seizes on the possibility that things might not be as they seem. Parables for our times - with a hint of the reckless and absurd that we have come to expect from Ha Jin - The Bridegroom offers tales of both mischievous and wise." - Cover Insert

I find that the voices of China in books tend to have a same flavor to them. I have yet to find a word to describe it. China has gone through so many changes and is still re-shaping and shifting before it takes it's permanent form. I think that this is evident in all the writings from China that I have read. Each city and populace seems to have a different view of etiquete, local affairs, foreign countries and every thing in general. The various voices from The Bridegroom had a general sense of confusion about what to make of the new surroundings and certain freedoms that have opened up to the country. The Cultural Revolution has ended and the Chinese have found themselves in a constantly changing state of affairs. They are now allowed to go to Colleges and Universities, but still not speak freely. The constant push and pull is very demanding on the common Chinese person and I think that they are well on their way. This book offers the views of 12 different Chinese, man, woman and child all trying to find there place in the new China and the world.

Three and a half stars: ***.5

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