The CrazedBook - 2002
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post, Los Angeles times, and San Jose Mercury News Best Book of the Year
Ha Jin’s 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 mentor’s 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 life’s work? And will bearing witness to the truth end up breaking poor Jian’s heart? Combining warmth and intimacy with an unsparing social vision, The Crazed is Ha Jin’s most enthralling book to date.
Baker & Taylor
Assigned to care for his fiancée's father, Professor Yang, a respected literature teacher, after he suffers a stroke, Jian Wan is disturbed when the professor begins to rave against his family, colleagues, and the system, and risks everything in a China in the midst of the violent aftermath of Tiananmen to delve into the professor's past to uncover the truth. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 40,000 first printing.
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Jian is a literature graduate student who finds himself, in the spring of 1989, caring for his professor who has just had a stroke. As student unrest spreads through the country, Jian remains apolitical and focused on his exams and his professor's health. Gradually, through his professor's crazed murmurings, he comes to understand that things are not as they seem, and that politics infuses every part of life. Forced to go into the countryside for the first time in his life, he confronts the reality of rural poverty and official corruption. Eventually caught up in the student uprisings himself, he realizes his life is changed forever.
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