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A Good Fall: Stories (Vintage International) [Kindle Edition]

Ha Jin
5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)

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"With startling clarity, Jin explores the challenges, loneliness and uplift associated with discovering one's place in America." –Publisher's Weekly

“His best work so far, this collection includes immortal stories of the immigrant experience, comparable to the best of Malamud and Singer.”
Kansas City Star, Top 100 Books
“Everyone in A Good Fall struggles with past and present, and Ha Jin requires dynamic change of them all…these understated clashes of culture reveal careful thematic design and provide an almost 360-degree view of this select human experience: The concerns of people everywhere trying to make a better life come alive, one deceptively simple story at a time.” –Miami Herald
“Jin employs a simple, workmanlike style to match the lives of his characters. But instead of feeling flat-footed, his unvarnished prose adds a no-nonsense charm to the stories.” –Chicago Sun-Times

"[Jin] is a master of the straightforward line; he makes the most of his spareness. As in Chekhov's late work, his writing (which is mostly stripped of adjectives and adverbs) covers a lot of ground quickly—no-frills sentences about Chinese immigrants who lead no-frills lives in New York" –The New Republic

“In short, the storyteller's art is richly on display here. Ha Jin has a singular talent for snaring a reader. His premises are gripping, his emotional bedrock hard and true…You might even call it: captivating.” –The Washington Post
“His masterful storytelling persists - meticulous, droll, convincing, populated with memorable characters - not to mention the indelible portrait of an immigrant life he gives us. What is also consistent is his prowess to study and reveal, often with heartfelt humor, the compromised and damaged heart and soul, and the impact of time and history on ordinary people.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“12 engrossing, visceral tales about the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants in America…Jin’s prose (and particularly his dialogue) is baldly direct, without flourishes but not without nuance.” –Christian Science Monitor
“A collection of sublime moments…Perhaps Jin's point is that despite all the suffering and turmoil involved in living in America, the strong may triumph here after all. It's a message worth hearing these days.” –Denver Post

"Marvelous...One of the most powerful novels of the year, a richly textured and quietly engrossing portrait of the artist as a Chinese immigrant."—Entertainment Weekly 

"Ha Jin’s ear and eye for Chinese American life are acute, as is his sense of how one life can encompass a full spectrum of irony, desperation, and magic…The quest for freedom yields surprising and resonant complications in Ha Jin’s sorrowful, funny, and bittersweet stories." –Booklist

"Jin again captures the smallest details to create uniquely resonating portraits of everyday people…" –Library Journal
“In A Good Fall, a lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend’s parakeet; a Chinese professor attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student; and young children change their names to more American-sounding ones, unaware of how deeply this will hurt their grandparents. Also included are the rich imagery, attention to detail and wry humor that are Jin’s stock in trade and that, when taken together, offer—as fellow writer Francine Prose has noted—‘a compelling exploration of the . . . terrain that is the human heart.’”
Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
“The author, whose novel Waiting won the National Book Award in 1999, writes with warmth and humor about what it means to be a bewildered stranger in a strange land, no matter where one is born.” –People Magazine
“This may be Ha Jin's best work yet, his stories often ascending to the mystical penumbra we expect of Singer, Malamud, or O'Connor.” –The Huffington Post
“In this new collection of stories, former Emory University professor Ha Jin reflects on the life of Chinese immigrants in America, crafting each fleeting portrait with a spare precision and attention to detail uncanny for a relative newcomer to the English language.” –Atlanta Magazine
“In his first story collection since 2000, Jin offers 12 visceral tales that read with the immediacy of videotaped interviews. Set in Queens, New York, they illuminate the difficulties faced by Chinese immigrants grappling with exploitative employers, demanding relatives, and the rub between American and Chinese attitudes towards family.”
–Barnes and Noble Review, “The Best Short Story Collections of 2009”
“Jin tells every character’s story with a mixture of compassion and humor, conveying the validity of his or her daily worries, but showing too that, as with all human complications, and no matter our cultural heritage, we are often our own worst enemies.”—BookPage

"Has all the hallmarks of the works that arguably have made [Ha Jin] Boston’s greatest living author." —Boston Magazine

"The essence of the short story [is] to tell the tale with as few words as possible but as many words as necessary . . . It is wonderful when done well. [Ha Jin does] very well indeed. . . . He shows how difficult it is for the Chinese to overcome the broad differences in language, lifestyle and beliefs they encounter here. Yet he also shows what keeps them coming and why they stay—economic opportunity and freedom." —The Advocate

"Not to be missed. . . . A beautifully written, elegant, subtle, and yet always precise collection. . . . A Good Fall shows the daily struggles of immigrant life, but ultimately the hopefulness that can come with starting over."
Asian Review of Books

"Jin continues his skillful and deeply felt exploration of immigrant conflicts. . . . The collection as a whole celebrate[s] immigrant resilience: the courage to embrace calamity, hit the pavement and keep walking toward a brighter future." —The Los Angeles Times

"Quiet, careful, restrained prose—prose whose absence of flourish can, at times, make it all the more eloquent." –New York Times Book Review

"In these stark, deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous stories, we are reminded once again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer."

“Jin is a master of the straightforward line; he makes the most of his spareness…Jin’s forte is to begin with a cliché of ‘the immigrant experience’ and then, with a light touch, to upend it, or stretch it to the breaking point, or chuckle over it, or recover the sweetness in it.” –The New America


In his first book of stories since The Bridegroom, National Book Award-winning author Ha Jin gives us a collection that delves into the experience of Chinese immigrants in America.

A lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend's parakeet; young children decide to change their names so they might sound more "American," unaware of how deeply this will hurt their grandparents; a Chinese professor of English attempts to defect with the help of a reluctant former student. All of Ha Jin's characters struggle to remain loyal to their homeland and its traditions while also exploring the freedom that life in a new country offers.

Stark, deeply moving, acutely insightful, and often strikingly humorous, A Good Fall reminds us once again of the storytelling prowess of this superb writer.

From the Trade Paperback edition.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 356 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 256 Seiten
  • Verlag: Vintage; Auflage: Reprint (24. November 2009)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B002UM5BEG
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Nicht aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #516.480 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

  •  Ist der Verkauf dieses Produkts für Sie nicht akzeptabel?

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
5.0 von 5 Sternen Nachhallende Geschichten 2. Februar 2010
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Die Geschichten von Ha Jin sind zauberhaft, wunderschön und hallen lange nach... Das sind nicht spezifisch Geschichten über chinesische Einwanderer in den USA, sondern Geschichten über Menschen, die zwischen Träume und Zwänge hin- und hergezogen sind.

Ein Detail ist, dass Ha Jin manchmal veraltete amerikanisch-englische Ausdrücke verwendet, was sein wunderbares Englisch eine besondere Note verleiht.

Mein erstes Buch von Ha Jin, aber sicher nicht das letzte!
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.0 von 5 Sternen  22 Rezensionen
23 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A Portrait of the Immigrant Day-to-Day Struggle... 5. Dezember 2009
Von D. Kanigan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This book has twelve short stories set in Flushing, one of New York's largest Chinese immigrant communities. Author traverses the anxieties and struggles of the immigrants - some young (Monk down on his luck), some old (grandparents despised by Americanized grandchildren), some rich (professionals) and some dirt poor working in sweatshops and as prostitutes. This is not a soothing or uplifting book - but a real gritty portrait of the day-to-day Asian immigrant struggles with assimilation into American life - the loneliness of being without family back home - the hardship of making a living and learning the language - the yearning of finding someone to love.

Unlike other immigrant readings - you won't find them trashing America or wishing to go back home due to the hardship. These immigrants knuckle down and survive - they grind it out in the chase of the American dream - yet can't quite let go of their life back home.

Author has a smooth writing style. I found myself remarkably engaged in the conversational style prose and its captivating simplicity. Jin has an innate ability to capture the details of the living conditions of the characters in each of the stories along with a rich imagery of the neighborhoods. If I had any criticism of the collection of stories, is that their conclusions are often too abrupt and fall off a cliff while others are too contrived - in both cases I was left wanting for a more finessed, nuanced or insightful ending.

I particularly enjoyed the following passages:

"Certainly I wouldn't lend her the money, because that might amount to hitting a dog with a meatball--nothing would come back."

"At our ages--my wife is sixty-three and I'm sixty-seven--and at this time it's hard to adjust to life here. In America it feels as if the older you are, the more inferior you grow."

"We haven't practiced division and multiplication this year, so I'm not familiar with them anymore." He offered that as an excuse. There was no way I could make him understand that once you learned something, you were supposed to master it and make it part of yourself. That's why we say knowledge is wealth. You can get richer and richer by accumulating it within."

"He still felt for this woman. Somehow he couldn't drive from his mind her image behind the food stand, her face steaming with sweat and her eyes downcast in front of customers while her knotted hands were packing snacks into Styrofoam boxes."

He remembered that when he was taking the entrance exam fourteen years back, his parents had stood in the rain under a shared umbrella, waiting for him with a lunch tin, sodas, and tangerines wrapped in a handkerchief. They each had half a shoulder soaked through. Oh, never could he forget their anxious faces. A surge of gratitude drove him to the brink of tears. If only he could speak freely to them again."

"Rusheng, you worry too much," Molin jumped in, combing his dyed yellow hair with his fingers. "Look at me--I've never had a full-time job, but I'm still surviving, breathing like everyone else. You should learn how to take it easy and enjoy life."

"Without the past, how can we make sense of now?" "I've come to believe that one has to get rid of the past to survive. Dump your past and don't even think about it, as if it never existed." "How can that be possible? Where did you get that stupid idea?" "That is the way I want to live, the only way to live."

"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."
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen finely crafted stories speak of the immigrant experience 17. Januar 2010
Von P. J. Owen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book was given to me as a gift from a friend who I had shared my love of Ha Jin's great novel `Waiting' with. Interestingly, as much as I loved `Waiting', I had never picked up anything else by him! So I was excited to start in on this new collection of short stories.

There are two things that stand out in this work. First is just the pure craft of it. These are exquisitely crafted stories. Jin is an English professor, after all, but the quality of this writing transcends that of the quality to be expected of any old English professor. It is that of a craftsman who has harnessed a great talent to the extent that the work seems effortless. (I'm sure it's not, but that just confirms my point.) His sentences are crisp and business-like, but not at all dull. In fact they almost crackle off the page. It's this blend of traits that makes this, or any other writing, so good.

Second, Jin writes movingly of the experience of the Chinese immigrant in America. The difficulties and hardships these people endure throughout the collection give us an almost instantaneous sympathy for the characters, even ones who aren't all that nice. `Children as Enemies' is about an old couple who are terrorized by their Americanized grandchildren. In `Temporary Love' we see the fall-out of being a `war-time' couple', or men and women who cohabitate in the States pretending to be married while waiting for their real spouses to come from China. In `A Good Fall', a monk is pushed to extreme measures when his `master' kicks him out of his temple, penniless, and without having paid him a penny for his work. Each story, whether they center on this theme or not, uses a different component of it in some way.

My favorites were `A Composer and his Parakeet', in which a composer reaches his inner self while baby-sitting a parakeet; `The Beauty' in which a jealous husband investigates his wife for cheating and finds that she's deceiving him in a way he could have never imagined; and `The English Professor' in which an anxious professor up for tenure re-evaluates his career choices and goes through a mini-mid-life crisis.

But there really isn't a bad story here. I highly recommend this book.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Superlative! 21. Januar 2010
Von Cary B. Barad - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is one of the best short story collections to be published recently. It is comprised of highly literate, yet down-to-earth tales of enchanting, humorous, thoughtful and infuriating characters who will undoubtedly provide readers with much enjoyment and many insights into human nature. The "exotic" quality of a large but little known ethnic group (Chinese-Americans and immigrants) adds to the learning experience. Very well done and highly recommended.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Seven 5-Star Stories Make This Five Stars 12. November 2010
Von M. JEFFREY MCMAHON - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
For the most part, recent Chinese immigrants are in the middle of a huge culture clash: Chinese tradition meets American consumer culture. Here is my overview with a star ranking for each story:

One. "The Bane of the Internet," a slight story about a woman's sister caught up in consumerism and enslaving herself to debt. Two stars.

Two. "A Composer and His Parakeets," a strong story about a man, a composer, hopelessly in love with an aspiring actress who is consumed by her career. He bonds more closely with his girlfriend's parakeet than he does with the woman of his dreams after his girlfriend charges him with baby-sitting the bird while she advances her acting profile, taking an overseas acting job. Five stars.

Three. "The Beauty," a strong, often funny and sad story about the self-destructiveness of jealousy and the trickery of images. Five stars.

Four. "Choice," a tormented love story about a tutor who falls in love with his student's mother. 5 stars.

Five. "Children as Enemies." A slight story, more of an exposition and monologue from a grandfather's point of view as he expresses his bitterness over the Americanization of his grandchildren. 3 stars.

Six. "In the Crossfire." A tormented marriage resulting from an imperious mother-in-law who imposes her Chinese traditions on her Americanized children. 5 stars.

Seven. "Shame." A young man befriends his former college professor who defects from China only to find that the professor is not as grand as the student once thought. Like "The Beauty," this story focuses on illusions and chimeras. Four stars.

Eight. "An English Professor." A slight, disappointing tale about the anxieties of getting tenure. Two stars.

Nine. "A Pension Plan." A caretaker has little money and must marry one of her senile patients just to survive. Like "A Good Fall," the story focuses on how poverty causes us to make desperate choices. Four stars.

Ten. "Temporary Love." A tormented love story about two Chinese immigrants committing adultery while being roommates while their spouses are still in China. Very strong. Five stars.

Eleven. "The House Behind a Weeping Cherry." A poor laborer falls in love with one of his roommates, a prostitute, and finds that he and she must face a serious dilemma. Five stars.

Twelve. "A Good Fall." A monk and kung fu trainer is being exploited almost to death by his boss and finds he must be born again in America to rise from the ashes. Five stars.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen What to Keep... 31. Januar 2010
Von Amy Henry - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is a collection of short stories about Chinese immigrants and their new experience settling in New York. Some are relatively new transplants, while others have been in the US for many years. The process of immersing self into a new culture and place, while retaining cultural traditions and personal beliefs, is complex and bewildering to many of the characters.
The first compliment has to go to Ha Jin's prose: clear, clean and crisp. Each story is astonishing in its simplicity, deceivingly so. Because none of the stories and life experiences are simple. He writes beautifully, making you care for this odd mix of people so much with so few words. I appreciated how he didn't feel the need to over-explain the complications, he's expecting his readers to have some basic knowledge about Chinese culture. Yet he still adds nuances of depth to these characters so you come away with new understanding of them and their plight, both individually and collectively.
For example, the Chinese have the well known reputation for respecting their ancestors far more than the American norm. While assimilating into American culture, some walk a fine line between behaving like everyone else or staying close to their cultural heritage. It's not simple at all. An overbearing mother appears for the most part to be an obnoxious insertion into her son's life, yet she is behaving in the norm. What is fascinating is how he relates to her, trying to respect her and her value system while keeping the peace with his wife. In the end, he makes a painful choice, because the two cannot be blended. Grandparents clinging to their past battle with grandchildren who only see their future, and in the middle a couple try and maintain respect and reasonableness for both generations.
In "A Composer and His Parakeets", Fanlin finds that his new role as pet sitter for his girlfriend's parakeet has more depth and meaning than his relationship with her. He finds inspiration, as well as happiness and contentment, by simply caring for the small needs of the little pet. He realizes that just as she had pawned the bird off to him, soon she would leave him. As he composes, his work actually improves significantly as he can openly express himself and not hold back
"The Bane of the Internet" shows the suffering of a newly immigrated woman who has to deal with the ease of keeping in contact with her family back home, one she thought she had escaped. While I laughed at some of her plight, the reality of her complaint is all too true.
In "An English Professor", we watch a fully competent Chinese professor drive himself insane in his attempt to get tenure because he finds a typo in his application. The lengths he goes to in his desperation and pain, his paranoia and his lack of confidence are by turns humorous and tragic. Underlining it all is the intense drive to succeed and to save face, a theme that runs through many of the stories.
A few things surprised me. In immigrant communities, the newspaper business is still alive and well, a collection of news and trivia and anecdotal events that serve as background and a connection to culture. I found it fascinating that once immigrants have entered the US, they eagerly seek association with other immigrants from their past, even if these ones were not of their previous `class' structure (who they would never have sought out back home). Their focus on financial and social standing remains, yet they desire to gather as family members to interact in the old ways.
As I read, I kept thinking of the phrase "what to keep". Every single character in this has to make that decision, in small decisions and in large, in order to get what they wanted from the new land and remain faithful to their values. Ha Jin illuminates the complications and makes these lives and decisions of these ordinary people a fascinating chronicle of personal sacrifice.
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