Ha Jin’s masterful new novel casts a searchlight into a forgotten corner of modern history, the experience of Chinese soldiers held in U.S. POW camps during the Korean War. In 1951 Yu Yuan, a scholarly and self-effacing clerical officer in Mao’s “volunteer” army, is taken prisoner south of the 38th Parallel. Because he speaks English, he soon becomes an intermediary between his compatriots and their American captors.With Yuan as guide, we are ushered into the secret world behind the barbed wire, a world where kindness alternates with blinding cruelty and one has infinitely more to fear from one’s fellow prisoners than from the guards. Vivid in its historical detail, profound in its imaginative empathy, War Trash is Ha Jin’s most ambitious book to date.
About the Author
Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of five novels, three story collections, and three books of poetry. He has received the National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, the PEN/ Hemingway Award, the Asian American Literary Award, and the Flannery O'Connor Award. He lives in the Boston area and is a professor of English at Boston University.
“Powerfully moving. . . . Brilliant and original. . . . Timeless and universal. . . . Nearly perfect.” —Russell Banks, The New York Times Book Review
“A powerful work of the imagination.” —The Washington Post
“Startingly seductive.... A work of profound humanism.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Haunting. . . . Deeply moving. . . . [Ha Jin] holds our attention like a whisper.” —The Christian Science Monitor