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The Crazed

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Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

Since the appearance of his first book of stories in English, Ha Jin has won the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and garnered comparisons to Dickens, Balzac, and Isaac Babel. "Like Babel," wrote Francine Prose in The New York Times Book Review, "Ha Jin observes everything...yet he tells the reader only" and precisely "as much as is needed to make his deceptively simple fiction resonate on many levels."

In his luminous new novel, the author of Waiting deepens his portrait of contemporary Chinese society while exploring the perennial conflicts between convention and individualism, integrity and pragmatism, loyalty and betrayal. Professor Yang, a respected teacher of literature at a provincial university, has had a stroke, and his student Jian Wan — who is also engaged to Yang's daughter — has been assigned to care for him. What at first seems a simple if burdensome duty becomes treacherous when the professor begins to rave: pleading with invisible tormentors, denouncing his family, his colleagues, and a system in which a scholar is "just a piece of meat on a cutting board."

Are these just manifestations of illness, or is Yang spewing up the truth? And can the dutiful Jian avoid being irretrievably compromised? For in a China convulsed by the Tiananmen uprising, those who hear the truth are as much at risk as those who speak it. At once nuanced and fierce, earthy and humane, The Crazed is further evidence of Ha Jin's prodigious narrative gifts.

Review:

"At its best, this has some of the pacing and texture of a skillfully constructed mystery....Not one of Ha Jin's better efforts. Still, readers who've admired his [other] fiction won't want to miss it." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[P]owerful....Ha's story is permeated by a grief that won't be eased or transmuted by heroic images of resistance....Like Gao Xingjian, Ha continues to refine his understanding of politics as an unmitigated curse." Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

In his luminous novel, the author of "Waiting" deepens his portrait of contemporary Chinese society while exploring the perennial conflicts between convention and individualism, integrity and pragmatism, loyalty and betrayal.

Synopsis:

A New York Times Notable Book

A Washington Post, Los Angeles times, and San Jose Mercury News Best Book of the Year

Ha Jins seismically powerful new novel is at once an unblinking look into the bell jar of communist Chinese society and a portrait of the eternal compromises and deceptions of the human state. When the venerable professor Yang, a teacher of literature at a provincial university, has a stroke, his student Jian Wan is assigned to care for him. Since the dutiful Jian plans to marry his mentors beautiful, icy daughter, the job requires delicacy. Just how much delicacy becomes clear when Yang begins to rave.

Are these just the outpourings of a broken mind, or is Yang speaking the truth—about his family, his colleagues, and his lifes work? And will bearing witness to the truth end up breaking poor Jians heart? Combining warmth and intimacy with an unsparing social vision, The Crazed is Ha Jins most enthralling book to date.

About the Author

Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of the internationally best-selling novel Waiting, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Award; the story collections The Bridegroom, which won the Asian American Literary Award, Under the Red Flag, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Ocean of Words, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award; the novel In the Pond; and three books of poetry. He lives in Massachusetts and is a professor of English at Boston University.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Michelleyevshky, June 21, 2007 (view all comments by Michelleyevshky)
This is the first novel of Jin's that I've read. I was not disappointed and give this book a loud, standing ovation.

After his academic advisor and prospective father-in-law collapses from a stroke, Jian, a graduate student studying poetics, is assigned to care for the professor. As Professor Yang grows increasingly more neurotic with each passing day, Jian faces a devastating personal crisis within himself while pondering the mysteries and paradoxes pointed parroting from his old mentor uncorks.

This book is subtle and slow-moving, the words culled to bare essentials. The plot progression relies heavily upon psychological deconstruction of its characters, but unlike in Russian literature, it deconstructs characters through the seive of Jian, a fallible tool for such a job, and the reader is left knowing more of Jian from this perspective and less of of the peripheral minor characters shuffling forward to the bubbling finale of The Crazed.

I enjoyed reading Jin's use of the English language, as it is fresh and interesting, unfettered by certain colloquial ruts a native American English speaker tends to use. Whenever possible within the English language rules of word order he seems to place the verb as his core and bends his sentences and extremities around those verbs. The result is a certain fluidity that unlike some (say me, for example) doesn't get hung up on phonemes and fluff.

This book was excellent and masterful, like the stiff, bitter, and neutral taste of vodka. I'll be reading more of Ha Jin, you can be sure of it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375714115
Author:
Jin, Ha
Publisher:
Vintage
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Political
Subject:
China
Subject:
Politicians
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Teacher-student relationships
Subject:
Cerebrovascular disease
Subject:
College teachers
Subject:
Graduate students
Subject:
Literature teachers
Subject:
Yang
Subject:
Wan, Jian
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;china;novel;asian;literature;historical fiction;contemporary fiction;chinese literature;21st century;asia
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Series Volume:
issue 6
Publication Date:
20040131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.01x5.21x.71 in. .74 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Crazed Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.00 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780375714115 Reviews:
"Review" by , "At its best, this has some of the pacing and texture of a skillfully constructed mystery....Not one of Ha Jin's better efforts. Still, readers who've admired his [other] fiction won't want to miss it."
"Review" by , "[P]owerful....Ha's story is permeated by a grief that won't be eased or transmuted by heroic images of resistance....Like Gao Xingjian, Ha continues to refine his understanding of politics as an unmitigated curse."
"Synopsis" by , In his luminous novel, the author of "Waiting" deepens his portrait of contemporary Chinese society while exploring the perennial conflicts between convention and individualism, integrity and pragmatism, loyalty and betrayal.
"Synopsis" by , A New York Times Notable Book

A Washington Post, Los Angeles times, and San Jose Mercury News Best Book of the Year

Ha Jins seismically powerful new novel is at once an unblinking look into the bell jar of communist Chinese society and a portrait of the eternal compromises and deceptions of the human state. When the venerable professor Yang, a teacher of literature at a provincial university, has a stroke, his student Jian Wan is assigned to care for him. Since the dutiful Jian plans to marry his mentors beautiful, icy daughter, the job requires delicacy. Just how much delicacy becomes clear when Yang begins to rave.

Are these just the outpourings of a broken mind, or is Yang speaking the truth—about his family, his colleagues, and his lifes work? And will bearing witness to the truth end up breaking poor Jians heart? Combining warmth and intimacy with an unsparing social vision, The Crazed is Ha Jins most enthralling book to date.

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