Asian studies in Lithuania
Original language: English
Translated from: English
Authors: Ha Jin
Translated by: Daukšienė, Ona
ISBN: 9789986168263
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2011
Publisher: Tyto Alba

‘Waiting’ – is a love story, which runs through the main character’s – doctor’s Lin Kong‘s life. He married the uneducated, customary, with damaged feet woman Shuyu, so that “it is simply impossible for her to leave her birth place”. Doctor Lin Kong works at a military hospital in Moody city and forbids his wife to visit him at work. His intentions are to meet her only once a year, when he gets twelve days of vacation and goes back to the village. Shuyu is humble wife, who does not complain with her man about his indifference, patiently looks after the farm and raises their daughter Hua.

While years go by, the main character of the story meets a nurse – Manna Wu. They fall in love but they do not have the right to be together until the doctor leaves his wife Shuyu. So this is how the long waiting begins which proves that love is a universal feeling.

In this love triangle, Lin Kong goes to the village every holiday and asks his wife to divorce with him. They go to the court with this request, but not successfully. While they are at home Shuyu always agrees but she changes her mind during the arrival to the court. Every time the judge embarrasses Lin Kong as being not a good model of a Revolutionary Army officer. Divorce in Chinese villages is a very rare and almost impossible phenomenon. Not many people are getting married out of love, so no one would understand if Lin Kong would say that he wants to get a divorce with his wife only because he doesn‘t love her. Just after eighteen years of waiting they are allowed to divorce – according to military hospital setting, without his wife’s agreement ant will.

Lin Kong marries Manna Wu and they have twins but they do not feel the joy. They sometimes think that waiting was much better than the life together. This is not a climactic novel but it is peculiar and interesting.

This book not only gives us an opportunity to take a closer look at the old Chinese culture that is not always understood by us – Westerners. Furthermore, it lets us to explore the people with desires, expectations and feelings are very close and similar to ours.

The novel ‘Waiting’ by Ha Jin is one of his stories about contemporary China written in English. Ha Jin (1956. Xuěfēi Chinese name), grew up in communist China, in 1985 went to the USA to study a PhD in Anglo-American literature. In the meantime he started writing: first poetry, then short stories and finally novels.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU