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Waiting by Ha Jin

China Traveler, January 9, 2010

Mysterious, unfathomable China exists as much in the 20th century as in the distant past. Menstruation police, mandatory exercise at sunrise, dormitory living for single men and women, food deprivations, forced labor, and travel restrictions distinguish post-Mao China. But according to Jin Ha, perhaps worst of all is the state's involvement in personal relationships and the emotional hardship that ensues. Waiting can extinguish even the most ardent love between soul mates, turning joy into lifeless lassitude and youthful pleasure into middle-aged bitterness. Just as easily, it can also re-affirm an attachment to a loveless love, making the emotional sterility of not-loving seem the better alternative.
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