Waiting (1999) is a novel written in English by Ha Jin, a Chinese author who as of 2006 was teaching creative writing at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. The book is based on a true story that Jin heard from his wife when they were visiting her family at an army hospital in China. At the hospital was an army doctor who had waited eighteen years to get a divorce so he could marry his long-time friend, a nurse. But now his second marriage was not working. Jin thought that this situation would make a good plot for a novel, and he began working on Waiting in 1994.
The plot revolves around the fortunes of three people: Lin Kong, the army doctor; his wife Shuyu, whom he has never loved; and his girlfriend at the hospital where he works, the nurse Manna Wu. Beginning in 1963 and stretching over a twenty-year period, Waiting is set against the background of a changing Chinese society. It contrasts city and country life and shows the restrictions on individual freedoms that are a routine part of life under communism. But Waiting is primarily a novel of character. It presents an in-depth portrait of a decent but deeply flawed man, Lin Kong, whose life is spoiled by his inability to experience strong emotions and to love wholeheartedly.
(The entire section is 218 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!