Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin

*STARRED REVIEW
In an introductory galley letter, National Book Award winner Ha Jin (Waiting, 1999) announces his intent to reclaim American missionary Minnie Vautrin’s heroism during the 1937 Nanjing massacre: “She suffered and ruined herself helping others, but she became a legend. At least her story has moved me to write a novel about her. If I succeed, my book might put her soul at peace.”

While many were fleeing the city as it came under Japanese attack, Vautrin opened Jinling Women’s College to 10,000 mostly women and children and repeatedly risked her life to save refugees from the atrocities the Japanese military inflicted on Chinese civilians during the Sino-Japanese War. Vautrin’s experiences are filtered through the perspective of her fictional Chinese assistant, who records both Vautrin’s courage and her agonizing demise over the victims she couldn’t save.

Verdict: Requiem is necessary testimony, but as with Iris Chang’s groundbreaking The Rape of Nanking, readers should be aware of the book’s relentless, graphic horror. Jin’s loyal readers will notice a bluntness – jarringly effective here – different from his previous works, as if Jin, too, must guard himself against the horror, the horror.

Review: “Fiction,” Library Journal, August 15, 2011

Readers: Adult

Published: 2011

2 Comments

Filed under ..Adult Readers, .Fiction, Chinese, Chinese American

2 responses to “Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin

  1. Pingback: Author Interview: Ha Jin | BookDragon

  2. Pingback: The Flowers of War by Geling Yan, translated by Nicky Harman | BookDragon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s