When the ball dropped on Thursday night, I kissed Joel, crawled into bed, and picked up Ha Jin's Waiting, which has been (ironically) waiting for me through the long month of December. Joel laughed at me for being unable to restrain myself, but I figure it was officially January, so I should take advantage! I finished Jin's rather frustrating book today, and I'm now pondering where to put it: on the shelf or in the McKay bag?
It was a pretty decent novel. The characters were restrained, but as Chinese from the 1950s on, they had to be to be true. I say it is a frustrating book because, again, it had to be. It is about a man waiting 18 years to divorce his first wife and marry another, only to find himself still dissatisfied. He was certainly frustrated, so the reader was as well. I can't say though that I found that frustration to be transcendent in terms of what I could take from the novel. It didn't do much for me. And perhaps the long lapse right near the end couldn't but make it a frustrating experience, but overall, the effect was - as they say these days - feh. Thus the take it or leave it question. And I think I will take it to McKay.
The more important question now is what to start the New Year with? After hearing an interview with him on NPR, I want Wendell Berry's Bringing it to the Table something fierce, but I haven't placed any amazon orders yet. Since I have a collection of his essays that I haven't yet read, I feel compelled to read them first. But maybe a novel would be better? I think I'll go touch the stacks again and see what calls to me loudest. Report to follow.