'Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.' For more than seventeen years, Lin Kong, a devoted and ambitious doctor, has been in love with an educated, clever, modern woman, Manna Wu. But back in the traditional world of his home village lives the wife his family chose for him when he was young - a humble and ...
'Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.' For more than seventeen years, Lin Kong, a devoted and ambitious doctor, has been in love with an educated, clever, modern woman, Manna Wu. But back in the traditional world of his home village lives the wife his family chose for him when he was young - a humble and touchingly loyal woman - whom he visits in order to ask, again and again, for a divorce. In a culture in which the ancient ties of tradition and family still hold sway and where adultery discovered by the Party can ruin lives forever, Lin's passionate love is stretched ever more taut by the passing years. Every summer, his compliant wife agrees to a divorce but then backs out. This time, Lin promises, will be different. Tracing these lives through their summer of decision and beyond, Ha Jin vividly conjures the texture of daily life in a place where the demands of human longing must contend with the weight of centuries of wisdom. Waiting charms and startles with its depiction of a China that remains hidden to Western eyes even as it moves with its piercing vision of the universal complications of love.
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Having lived in Asia, I found this to be a beautiful and sad tale about the values of love and marriage.
It was very realistic and tragic. Lin Kong waits two decades to marry the woman he really loves. The time it takes to get a divorce without the wife's permission. His humble wife lives at home, dedicated to him, while she knows that he is planning for when their marriage will end.
When he finally does get to marry the love of his life, he finds that the expectations are nothing like the reality.
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