A Good Fall: Stories
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In his first book of stories since The Bridegroom was published in 2000 ("Finely wrought . . . Every story here is cut like a stone."—Chicago Sun-Times), National Book Award–winning Ha Jin gives us a collection that delves into the experience of Chinese immigrants in America.
With the same profound attention to detail that is a hallmark of his previous acclaimed works of fiction, Ha Jin depicts here the full spectrum of immigrant life and the daily struggles—some minute, some grand—faced by these intriguing individuals.
A lonely composer takes comfort in the antics of his girlfriend's parakeet; young children decide to change their names so that 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 in situations that stir within them a desire to remain attached to be loyal to their homeland and its traditions as they explore and avail themselves of the freedom that life in a new country offers.
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.
stop randomly; the girl had expensive tastes. Eileen’s birthday arrived on a pleasant August day. That evening, traffic hummed faintly in the east, and the happy cries of children rose and fell behind a nearby house that provided day care. The neighborhood was alive and peaceful. Eileen had steamed a large pomfret and braised a pork tenderloin. When the table was set, we all sat down to dinner. Eileen opened a small jar of rice wine and poured us each a cup. Sami and I didn’t like the wine,
her—someone could give her directions. At work Tian drank a lot of coffee to keep himself awake. His scalp was numb and his eyes heavy and throbbing a little as he was crunching numbers. If only he could have slept two or three more hours a day. Ever since his mother had arrived, he’d suffered from sleep deficiency. He would wake up before daybreak, missing the warmth of Connie’s smooth skin and their wide bed, but he dared not enter the master bedroom. He was certain she wouldn’t let him
sofa, his face vacant. She asked, “So you have no job anymore?” He grimaced without answering. She went on, “What does this mean? You won’t have any income from now on?” “No. We might lose the house, the car, the TV, everything. I might not even have the money for the plane fare for your return trip.” His mother shuffled away to the bathroom, wiping her eyes. Connie observed him as if in disbelief. Then she smiled, showing her tiny, well-kept teeth, and asked in an undertone, “Do you think I
get to the department office before the others. But upon arriving, he found Carrie, the secretary, and Peter Johnson already there. Rusheng hurried into the small reading room where the evaluation materials were kept for the tenured professors to check out. To his horror, nothing remained on top of the metal cabinet. He came out and asked Carrie what had happened to his files. With an eye screwed up, she said, “We made copies of them for the senior faculty.” “You mean they have started
pleased by what I had done. “I acted like a pimp, didn’t I?” “No, you did well,” Huong replied. “Thank God we have a man among us,” Lili added. Lili’s words made me uneasy. I’m not one of you, I thought. But afterward, I felt they were more friendly than before, and even Lili started speaking to me more often and with her eyes fully open. They’d ask me what I would like for dinner, and cooked fish three or four times a week because I was fond of seafood. My factory provided steamed rice for