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The Bridegroom: Storiesby Ha Jin
Synopses & Reviews
From the National Book Award-winning author of Waiting, a new collection of short fiction that confirms Ha Jin's reputation as a master storyteller. Each of The Bridegroom's twelve stories--three of which have been selected for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories--takes us back to Muji City in contemporary China, the setting of Waiting. It is a world both exotic and disarmingly familiar, one in which Chinese men and women meet with small epiphanies and muted triumphs, leavening their lives of quiet desperation through subtle insubordination and sometimes crafty resolve. In the title story, a seemingly model husband joins a secret men's literary club and finds himself arrested for the 'bourgeois crime' of homosexuality. 'Alive' centers on an official who loses his memory in an earthquake and lives happily for months as a simple worker; when he suddenly remembers who he is, he finds that his return to his old life proves inconvenient for everyone. In 'A Tiger-Fighter Is Hard to Find,' a television crew's inept attempt to film a fight scene with a live Siberian tiger lands their lead actor in a mental hospital, convinced that he is the mythical tiger-fighter Wu Song. 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 the absurd that we have come to expect from Ha Jin--The Bridegroom offers tales both mischievous and wise.
Twelve short stories bring to life the daily dramas of Chinese men and women whose lives are being influenced by western culture while they are immersed in a society that is still under Communist rule.
From the remarkable Ha Jin, winner of the National Book Award for his celebrated novel Waiting, a collection of comical and deeply moving tales of contemporary China that are as warm and humanas they are surprising, disturbing, and delightful.
In the title story, the head of security at a factory is shocked, first when the hansomest worker on the floor proposes marriage to his homely adopteddaughter, and again when his new son-in-law is arrested for the crime of homosexuality. In After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town, the workers at an American-style fast food franchisereceive a hilarious crash course in marketing, deep frying, and that frustrating capitalist dictum, the customer is always right.Ha Jin has triumphed again with his unforgettable storytelling inThe Bridegroom.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of two books of poetry; two previous collections of stories, Ocean of Words, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award, and Under the Red Flag, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction; and two novels, In the Pond and Waiting, which won both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. He lives in Atlanta, where he is Young J. Allen Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.
Table of Contents
Saboteur — Alive — In the kindergarten — A tiger fighter is hard to find — Broken — The bridegroom — An entrepreneur's story — Flame — A bad joke — An official reply — The woman from New York — After Cowboy Chicken came to town.
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