Tuesday, January 12, 2010

a good fall

At the airport in Hong Kong on my way back home, I chanced upon the latest book by Ha Jin.

The book is a compilation of 12 short stories. Except for the last story, A Good Fall, the rest have been published in magazines or newspapers.

All the stories take place in Flushing, New York, where the characters are all Chinese immigrants who deal with life in America. These daily struggles take us from the young monk to the elderly grandparents who have uprooted from struggling communist China in order to "make it there" in America. In one of the stories, the protagonist says, "You can always change. This is America, where it's never too late to turn over a new page. That's why my parents came here."

The book is light reading and deeply moving and for some reason, I could relate to the characters in the book. Han Jin is a masterful story teller. He immerses you into the scenes of the short stories. His writing is highly engaging and you will be transformed to the scenes as he vividly yet simply describes the various scenes in this book. His stories are short and leave a lot to the imagination for each short stories' ending.

You do not have to be of Chinese descent to appreciate this book. It transcends nationality. Even the typical Filipino or any Asian immigrant will see a mirror when he turns the pages of "A Good Fall".

Cost of the book at Relay Bookstore (HK Airport) - $250HKD (P1500.00)
Recommended reading: 9 (scale of 0-10)

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