Read of Ha Jin’s novel Waiting a little. Just talked with a friend about the novel. Now I feel it is better for me to just put these experiences down on “paper”.
I like the way he writes things. Very good story telling skills. When he writes about the scenery at the moments, unlike less competent writers who like to use lengthy sentences and fancy words, Ha Jin just uses very simple sentences describing what is where, but very successfully has the moment conveyed. I believe writing should use the least words. it seems that Ha Jin believes this too.
Reading his novel has a very unique different feeling. It feels like a Chinese novel directly translated into English from Chinese, although the English is beautiful. The writing seems to have an implicit and very subtle combination of beauty of English and Chinese together. I guess translators in China should be very happy to have a job of translating Ha Jin’s novel into Chinese. 🙂
His story telling is very intriguing. Although it is not telling a big drama, the story has something that is very deep that draw the readers’ attention. I guess it is the deep concern of human beings under very unusual conditions. People in US often complain about too many choices. Reading Ha Jin’s novel reminded me how little choice the Chinese people have in their lives. Mostly no choice but to survive, and have a sense of humor and still enjoy life. These years, China’s economy is soaring. But I am afraid the Chinese people are still very limited in their choices. On the other hand, it is getting better. But compared to the western world, Chinese still have far less choices in their lives.
I think one very significant meaning of Ha Jin’s novels is that they provide a way for the westerners to really have a way to feel about China. You might read many news about China in NY Times or the cover stories of Business Week. But you don’t feel about China. It is also a way to feel about the conditions in a developing country. The foreign policy and immigration policy of US are largely based on the ignorance of the conditions in the developing countries. So in this sense, Ha Jin’s novels have very significant meaning to build the bridge, and thus to build peace.
I remember Ha Jin’s next effort is to write about oversea Chinese life. That is definitely another very important work. So many Chinese, who might have great achievement (not necessarily in the material means, more in the meaning of realizing one’s self and contributing to society) in their home country if they stayed there, have wasted their lives here in the states. It is a big tragedy. On the other hand, Americans need to really know about the lives of immigrants and thus make changes in their immigration policy. For example, provide free time for the new comers to learn English, especially during the first year after they first get here.
Cross culture communication is very significant work for building world peace.