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The Crazed

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Ha Jin's first novel since Waiting offers a riveting and deftly executed expose of the troubles of contemporary China, set against the background of political unrest at Tiananmen Square. In his powerful new novel, the author of Waiting deepens his portrait of Chinese society while exploring the perennial conflicts between convention and individualism, integrity and pragmatism, loyalty and betrayal. Professor Yang, a respected teacher of literature at a provincial university, has had a stroke, and his student Jian Wan - who is also engaged to Yang's daughter - has been assigned to care for him. What initially seems a simple if burdensome duty becomes more problematic when the professor begins to rave: pleading with invisible tormentors, denouncing his family, his colleagues, and a system in which a scholar is 'just a piece of meat on a cutting board.' Are these just manifestations of illness, or is Yang spewing up the truth? In a China convulsed by the Tiananmen uprising, those who listen to the truth are as much at risk as those who speak it. At once nuanced and fierce, earthy and humane, The Crazed is further evidence of Ha Jin's prodigious narrative gifts. Hide synopsis

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