Nanjing Requiem
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Nanjing Requiem

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3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  706 ratings  ·  169 reviews

The award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash returns to his homeland in a searing new novel that unfurls during one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century: the Rape of Nanjing.

In 1937, with the Japanese poised to invade Nanjing, Minnie Vautrin—an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women’s College—decides to remain at the school, convinced that her Am

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Kindle Edition, 322 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2011)
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Shomeret
I read this book because I thought a novel would be a better way for me to read about the Japanese occupation of Nanjing. Reportage of atrocities can de-sensitize us so that they have less impact and you care less about the victims. Fiction with characterization where you see into the minds and hearts of the characters and see their lives in context should make you care more. Unfortunately, as other reviewers have said this is closer to reportage than fiction.

One of the problems is that Ha Jin...more
Tara Chevrestt
I appreciate what the author has done here: educated us about the rape Nanjing. I didn't know a thing about it till I picked up this book. But where I was expecting a historical novel about a strong missionary woman named Minnie, I got just what I said above, the rape of Nanjing.

The first part of the book... is one brutality after another, page after page of rape, sexual molesting and deforming of women, head slashing, and even urinating on children. The Japanese committed the foulest of acts....more
Marjorie Snook
I really wanted to like this book. Jin's Waiting and The Crazed are two of my favorite books, and I pre-ordered this book on Amazon so I could get it as soon as it came out.

I was underwhelmed, though. While I did learn a lot about the occupation of Nanjing, and especially the role of foreigners in the city during the time, the book was strangely unengaging. The book is all told at a strange emotional remove, making the storytelling seem wooden and sometimes strained. Jin also had the very bad ha...more
Chris
While I found the opening sections of this book riveting and horrifying the slow pace and dwelling on minute details left me struggling to keep up my interest as the novel progressed. Clearly a subject worthy of exploration and revelation but I couldn't help but compare it unfavorably with classic historical novelizations like "All Quiet on the Western Front" or last year's "The Sojourn."
Bill
too boring...this reads like journalism, not a novel.
Felice
One of the novels I have been looking forward to the most this fall is Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin. Alas…my expectations, very high after Jin’s previous six novels, were not met.

In 1937 Japanese troops took control of the Chinese capital of Nanjing from the Nationalist army of Chiang Kai-shek. The Japanese then literally wreaked havoc on the civilians of Nanjing. In just the starting weeks of the occupation Japanese soldiers killed over 250,000 men, women and children and 20,000 women and girls we...more
Annette
Sadly, I don't have anything positive to say about this book. It's been on my to-read list for ages, and I've long been interested in the story of the Nanjing massacre. Nanjing Requiem was a major disappointment, and it read to me as if written in the simple language of a 10 year old. That in itself isn't a crime, but it was also devoid of life, colour and personality.

The characters (based on real people living in Nanjing during the Japanese occupation) are one dimensional, and the prose is mund...more
Katherine
Lord, this was the book that wouldn't end. And really, it just kind of ground to a stop. There didn't seem to be an arc to the story - and the really sad thing about that is that this should have been a completely compelling story. Minnie Vautrin was an actual person, a missionary working at Jinling University in Nanjing. And she was in charge in 1937 when the Japanese devastated Nanjing. Instead of running for safety as so many did, she stayed and turned Jinling into a refugee camp for 10,000 w...more
Bára Jelínková
Je fascinující, jak nudná kniha se dá napsat o tak zajímavém tématu. Uvědomuji si, že se nejedná o literaturu faktu, ale přecejen jsem čekala, že se o tomto čínsko-japonském konfliktu něco dozvím. Nedozvěděla. Kniha obsahuje jen pár zajímavých pasáží, jinak čtenář jen stále dokola čte o tom, jak vedení univerzity/tábora píše stížnosti japonskému velvyslanci a ten nic nedělá (překvapivě), jak lidé blahořečí ředitelku a jí to není příjemné, co si dali hlavní aktéři k obědu/večeři/snídani, celá jed...more
Mimi
I have loved Ha Jin's other books, this one is completely disappointing. Maybe the subject matter is
too horrific to be dealt with in fiction....
Alissa Mccarthy
I picked this book up in an airport because I knew I would be going to China. I finished it sitting at LAX waiting for a flight to Guangzhou. The book is about when, in 1937, Japanese troops took control of the Chinese capital of Nanjing from the Nationalist army of Chiang Kai-shek. The Japanese literally "cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war" on Nanjing. In just the starting weeks of the occupation Japanese soldiers killed over 250,000 men, women and children and 20,000 women and girls were...more
Elizabeth
The initial chapters are a disturbing portrait of the Japanese invasion of Nanjing. It is more an 'account' of that plus the aftermath rather than a 'novel.'

The award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash returns to his homeland in a searing new novel that unfurls during one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century: the Rape of Nanjing.

In 1937, with the Japanese poised to invade Nanjing, Minnie Vautrin—an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women’s College—decides to remain at t...more
Kristen Carannante
Nanjing Requiem is a story of courage and conviction in the face of unspeakable atrocity.

Minnie Vautrin is the American dean of the Jinling Women's College. On the eve of the Japanese invasion of Nanjing in 1937, when most foreigners are leaving for their own safety, Minnie remains and turns the campus into a refugee center for women and children, believing that her status as an American will ensure the safety of the refugees and the staff of the college who remain on with her. Her mistaken beli...more
Melissa
This was a tough book about the Japanese invasion of Nanjing, China in 1937. The story is based on documents and the diaries of Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary and dean of the Jinling Women's College. Some of the atrocities described in the book were to awful to be real. "In war, victory justifies all sorts of violence. A complete victory means to have finished off the enemy. In fact, I believe that the Japanese committed all the atrocities as a celebrations of their victory, as a kind of...more
Julie
I must admit that through this novel, Jin gives credit where credit is due to Minnie Vautrin. As an American missionary during the Rape of Nanjing, she was responsible for saving countless lives due to the refugee camp she established at the Jinling Women’s College. This may seem morbid, but I was expecting more narrative about the violence inflicted by the Japanese army on the citizens of Nanjing during the capture of the city in December 1937, but a majority of the book focused on the occupati...more
Tony
NANJING REQUIEM. (2011). Ha Jin. ***.
The author is normally a writer whose prose resembles poetry. His sentences flow smoothly and precisly describe his characters, their surroundings and their actions. This book is no exception, but somehow it doesn’t all come together the same way. This is the story of The Rape of Nanjing (Nanking) by the Chinese in 1937. The protagonist is Minnie Vantrin, an American missionary, the dean of Jinling Women’s College. The school is for young women only and is w...more
Jerome Parisse
Nanjing Requiem takes place during the invasion of China by Japan, more specifically the rape of the then capital Nankin (Nanjing). The Japanese committed atrocities and killed hundreds of soldiers and civilians, which to this day they do not fully recognise. During the siege of Nankin, a number of foreigners, mainly Americans, who had decided to stay, created neutral zones to protect civilians, in particular children and women. Naning Requiem relates the story of such a foreigner, Minnie Vautri...more
NyiNya
Ha Jin never goes for the jugular. His cool, reserved style works to his advantage in "Nanjing Requiem. The facts are so horrific, that letting too much emotion creep into the narrative could take it over the edge into Grand Guignol.

The focus of Nanjing Requiem is Jinling Women's College. Ha Jin seamlessly blends real and fictional figures and locations to bring us into the center of six weeks of hell on earth. As the Japanese advance, Chaing Kai-shek flees to Chongqing; he leaves his armies in...more
Corny
This book reads like non fiction because I believe that is what the author intended. Ha Jin has artfully constructed a novel with mostly real people set during the Nanking Massacres of 1937 and their aftermath. It is a story of survival and hope set during some of China's darkest days. The author imagines the period through the eyes of the fictional Anling Gao, a 51 year old Chinese woman who narrates. The spare prose style makes the atrocities of this period even more vivid. A true case of less...more
Louise
The award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash returns to his homeland in a searing new novel that unfurls during one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century: the Rape of Nanjing.

In 1937, with the Japanese poised to invade Nanjing, Minnie Vautrin—an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women’s College—decides to remain at the school, convinced that her American citizenship will help her safeguard the welfare of the Chinese men and women who work there. She is painfully mistaken...more
Michelle
Ha Jin’s latest novel, Nanjing Requiem, released last fall, takes on the huge challenge of setting a novel during the Japanese invasion and occupation of China’s Nanjing City. It is not an easy task to write a
book with a foundation based in the torture and slaughter of thousands of civilians, but that is the challenge Jin has set up for himself with this new book.

Jin tells the story of the fall of Nanjing, opening with the heartbreaking tale of Ban, a young boy who serves as an errand-runner for...more
Joyce
The novel Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin tells the story of the fall of Nanjing to the Japanese before the beginning of WWII. Although it is fiction, it is based on historical facts and real people who lived in Nanjing at that time. The story is told by a woman associated with Jingling Women's College in Nanjing that acted as a refuge camp for 10,000 women during the time Nanjing was being attacked and taken over by the Japanese. It is a very compelling story describing atrocities and horrors endured...more
John
A Fine Fictional Recounting of the Nanjing Massacre

Ha Jin's "Nanjing Requiem" is a fictional recollection of the infamous Nanjing Massacre, as seen through the eyes of American missionary Minnie Vautrin, the dean of Jingling Women's College, and her fictitious assistant and friend, Ahling Gao, the novel's narrator. Much to his credit, Ha Jin has made a most impressive case explaining why and how Vautrin's valiant acts in saving innocent Chinese civilians during the Japanese seizure of Nanjing, t...more
Feisty Harriet
In the winter of 1937-38 the Japanese Imperial Army invaded China and wreaked havoc on the city of Nanjing (also called Nanking). For 6 weeks troops massacred, raped, pillaged, burned and destroyed this city, killing 300,000-500,000 people (depending on what stats you look at). In the late 1930′s during the Rape of Nanking, this was more than half of the city’s population. The Japanese Army and government refused to admit such torture and genocide ever happened, even after being brought to a war...more
Alan Mills
The Japanese slaughtered and raped the civilian population as they stormed Nanjing at the beginning of what would become World War Two. At this point, the US was not at war with anyone, and Europe was still trying to appease Hitler. So the main action was in China--and shamefully, these atrocities were ignored by the rest of the world. This background makes a perfect setting for a wonderful piece of historical fiction--which can bring characters alive by delving into their inner motivations in a...more
Lynn
Ha Jin tells the story of Nanjing through the life of an American missionary named Minnie Vautrin. Before the Japanese invade, she is the principal of a women's college in the heart of Nanjing and negotiates with the Japanese to house women and children on the college campus as a refugee camp. She is able to secure some food stuffs and materials to help them survive such as warm clothes, tents, blankets, etc. As much as she prepares beforehand, she is unable to control the invasion like she hope...more
Megan
During World War II, Japan decided to attack China, but many people do not realize how horrific this event truly was. This event is referred to as the Rape of Nanking because so many people in Nanking, China were raped and tortured that some historians believe that this was worse than the Holocaust.
The author Ha Jin took on the challenge of writing about the Rape of Nanking in Nanjing Requiem. In my opinion, Ha Jin did a pretty good job at telling the story; with vivid details that will make the...more
Robert
I found the story to be a rather narrow account. It was largely based on the diary of Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary, who was a senior administrator at Jingling University in Nanjing. The period covered is essentially the last half decade of the 1930's as what was called the Second Sino Japanese War moved south and intensified. The events are localized around the fall of the Republican capital of Nanjing to the Japanese and the years of occupation following this event.

As the account is...more
Christine
I really, really liked this book. Having recently read "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet", this book provided another, decidedly Chinese, perspective on the Chinese/Japanese conflict during the late 1930s. I had also read "The Rape of Nanjing" by Iris Chang when it was published, so I was (sickeningly) aware of the atrocities committed by the Japanese on the civilians of Nanjing. Jin's account of the humanitarian efforts made by actual people to protect the inhabitants of this city during...more
Susan
Although I've heard for years of the Rape of Nanking, the Nanking Massacre, I knew few details about it and nothing about the American woman, Minnie Vautrin, who was responsible for saving many lives by turning a college into a refuge center for women and children. This book is a fictionalized account of the nonfiction story, especially of Minnie, and I expected to love it.

The Chinese of Nanjing (Nanking) were subjected to unbelievable brutality, and I didn't expect this book to be a laugh-fest....more
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Mixed reviews 1 2 Dec 30, 2013 03:53PM  
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Ha Jin is the pen name of Xuefei Jin, a novelist, poet, short story writer, and Professor of English at Boston University. Ha Jin writes in English about China, a political decision post-Tiananmen Square.
More about Ha Jin...
Waiting War Trash A Free Life The Bridegroom: Stories The Crazed

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