Ha Jin. War trash.

Author:Theiss, Nola
Position:Brief Article - Young Adult Review - Book Review

HA JIN. War trash. Random House, Vintage. 352p. bibliog. c2004. 1-4000-7579-3. $14.95. A

A Chinese soldier is held prisoner in a US POW camp in North Korean from 19511953. His English skills make him suspicious to all and he is forced to take sides based purely on where he might survive. His friendships and descriptions of his captors, whether Chinese, Korean or American, create a sense of reality that makes the reader question whether this is really fiction. Most of the story does not sound like a novel, but instead like a documentary. Modern Chinese history is exposed through Yu Yuan's experiences before, during and after the war. As a thoughtful, educated young man, he is able to express his feelings and the political implications of his imprisonment in a way Westerners have rarely heard before. The story is graphic and gory in parts and does not have a particularly happy...

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