Under the Red Flag

Stories by Ha Jin

Stories from a winner of the PEN/ Hemingway Award for Fiction

Reviews

"Ha Jin's Dismount Fort teems with vivid life and people who grow ever less strange as their struggles unfold. An exotic subject matter helps, but narrative talent proves victorious."
Time Magazine

"Splendidly fluid and clear: Ha Jin has managed to make an utterly alien world seem as familiar as an old friend."
Kirkus Reviews


"Ha Jin is a master satirist, not so much of Chinese politics as of the human psyche when it's being twisted and pummeled by some higher authority."
Chicago Tribune

"[Ha Jin] infuses his tales with unforgettable characters who are grappling with questions of honor and shame, passion vs. respectability."
San Jose Mercury News

"Mr. Jin's haunting portraits of life in China, particularly during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, are shattering conventional expectations of what it is to be a 'Chinese writer,' and at the same time attracting torrents of praise."
Asian Wall Street Journal

"The spirit of a rural town during China's Cultural Revolution is captured in this strong collection from poet and People's Army veteran Jin (Oceans of Words), one of China's best-known post-Tiananmen imigris . . . Through a series of troubling vignettes . . . the reader gains a unique picture of a people struggling in a world in which matchmakers and fortune tellers exist with party officials and Red Guards."
Publishers Weekly

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Description

The twelve stories in Under the Red Flag take place during China's Cultural Revolution. Ha Jin, who was raised in China and emigrated to the United States after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, writes about loss and moral deterioration with the keen sense of a survivor. His stories examine life in the bleak rural town of Dismount Fort, where the men and women are full of passion and certainty but blinded by their limited vision as they grapple with honor and shame, manhood and death, infidelity and repression.

In "A Man-to-Be," a militiaman engaged to be married participates in a gang rape, but finds himself impotent when he looks into the eyes of the victim. His fiancee's family breaks off the engagement, not because of the rape, but because they doubt his virility. In "Winds and Clouds over a Funeral," a Communist leader disobeys his mother's last wish for burial to keep his good standing in the party, but his enemies bring him down for being a bad son. "In Broad Daylight" is the story of the public humiliation of a woman accused of being a whore. Her dignified defiance is gradually stripped away as she is dragged through the streets, cursed and spat upon by strangers and family alike.

In Under the Red Flag, privacy is nonexistent and paranoia rules as neighbor turns against neighbor, husband turns against wife, state turns against individual, history turns against humanity. These stories display the earnestness and grandeur of human folly, and in a larger sense, form a moral history of a time and a place.

Series/imprint:
Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction

Page count: 220 pp.
Trim size: 5.25 x 8

 



Ebook
List price: $16.95
978-0-8203-3678-7
4/15/2010
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Ha Jin is a professor of English at Boston University. His books include A Good Fall, A Free Life, and War Trash. He is a Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has also received such honors as the National Book Award, PEN/Faulkner Award, and PEN/Hemingway Award.