Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin
A Novel

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Synopsis

The award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash returns to his homeland in a searing new novel that unfurls during one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century: the Rape of Nanjing.
 
In 1937, with the Japanese poised to invade Nanjing, Minnie Vautrin—an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women’s College—decides to remain at the school, convinced that her American citizenship will help her safeguard the welfare of the Chinese men and women who work there. She is painfully mistaken. In the aftermath of the invasion, the school becomes a refugee camp for more than ten thousand homeless women and children, and Vautrin must struggle, day after day, to intercede on behalf of the hapless victims. Even when order and civility are eventually restored, Vautrin remains deeply embattled, and she is haunted by the lives she could not save.

With extraordinarily evocative precision, Ha Jin re-creates the terror, the harrowing deprivations, and the menace of unexpected violence that defined life in Nanjing during the occupation. In Minnie Vautrin he has given us an indelible portrait of a woman whose convictions and bravery prove, in the end, to be no match for the maelstrom of history.
 
At once epic and intimate, Nanjing Requiem is historical fiction at its most resonant.




From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Ha Jin

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Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of the internationally bestselling novel Waiting, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Award, and War Trash, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize; the story collections The Bridegroom, which won the Asian American Literary Award, Under the Red Flag, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Ocean of Words, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award; the novels The Crazed and In the Pond; and three books of poetry. His latest novel, A Free Life is his first novel set in the United States. He lives in the Boston area and is a professor of English at Boston University.War Trash, The Crazed, The Bridegroom, Waiting, In the Pond, and Ocean of Words are available in paperback from Vintage Books.
 
Published October 18, 2011 by Vintage. 322 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Nanjing Requiem

Kirkus Reviews

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“It’s not right to be called a goddess while I’m doing mission work.” Yet the novelist’s subtle mastery enriches the work, as Angling shifts from the role of witness to an integral position in the plot, and the complexities of relations among Americans, Chinese, Japanese (and eventually Germans, ...

Sep 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

The New York Times

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The narrator, Anling, a middle-aged Chinese woman, may be Ha Jin’s invention, but she serves as assistant to a well-documented real-life character, Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary from Illinois who served as acting head of Jinling College.

Oct 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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For his sixth novel, Jin (Waiting) focuses on the atrocities committed by the Japanese occupiers in 1937 Nanjing.

Jun 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

The Wall Street Journal

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The Chinese-born writer Ha Jin, whose novel "Waiting"—set in China and spanning a period from the 1960s to the 1980s—won the National Book Award in 1999, has now written a novel about the atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1937-38, after Japan invaded China and captured Nanjing...

Oct 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Star Tribune

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Ha Jin moves so far away from melodrama in writing about the atrocities of the Rape of Nanking that he saps his story of its immediacy and horror.

Nov 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

The Washington Post

people wave goodbye in improbably “powdery rain.” I’m reminded of a scene in Ha Jin’s magnificent short story “The English Professor,” in which a visiting scholar sabotages himself by signing his tenure request with the nonexistent word “Respectly.” Fiction can tell great truths.

Oct 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Dallas News

In December 1937, the Japanese army occupied Nanjing, the capital of the eastern Jiangsu province and once the capital of all of China, and proceeded to loot, burn, rape, torture and slaughter.

Oct 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Washington Independent Review of Books

Jin doesn't want to glorify Minnie, who felt she was only doing what she was taught, but with Anling's perspective we can neither get inside Minnie's head to feel the intensity of her struggles, nor beyond the city of Nanjing.

Oct 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Pajiba

For those who don’t know, the Rape of Nanjing (also known as the Rape of Nanking, or the Nanking massacre) is the commonly used term for the mass genocide and war rape that followed the Japanese capture of Nanjing during the second Sino-Japanese war in 1937.

Feb 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

San Francisco Chronicle

The plot mainly consists of Anling and Minnie tending to one crisis after another, from preventing harm to refugees by invading Japanese soldiers, to protesting the abduction of men and women to the Japanese Embassy, to providing medical attention to the wounded and raped.

Nov 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Open Letters Monthly

In truth, other than slaking the writer’s nostalgia, the writer’s physical return to his native land has little meaning.” With Nanjing Requiem, one of two of Jin’s books available in mainland China, the author appears to have accomplished just that: a “genuine return” of sorts, enacted through a ...

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Oregon Live

Minnie Vautrin, the dean of Jinling Women's College in Nanjing, risked her personal safety to turn the campus into a shelter for as many as 10,000 women and children.

Oct 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Sparked in part by Iris Chang's (somewhat sensationalized) bestseller The Rape of Nanking (1998), there has recently been a spate of books about the subject, including the publication of the diaries of Minnie Vautrin, who is the subject of Ha Jin's new novel, Nanjing Requiem -- arguably the most...

Nov 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

The author of several novels, including War Trash ( 3 of 5 Stars Jan/Feb 2005) and A Free Life ( 3.5 of 5 Stars Jan/Feb 2008), Ha Jin won the National Book Award in 1999 for Waiting.

Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Chicago Sun Times

Ha Jin’s latest novel takes place in the former Chinese Nationalist capital just before and after one of the worst wartime atrocities of modern times.

Oct 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Shelf Awareness

the dyed-in-the-wool perception of the readers of my books is that they are still that fourteen-year-old boy called Kevin.

Oct 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

Written in English, this historical novel chronicles

Apr 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Nanjing Requiem: A Novel

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