I found this novel to be interesting chiefly because of its point of view. The horrors of war recounted here are unfortunately commonplace and the sit...more
It wasn't my usual idea of great literature. Written as if it was a memoir by a Chinese veteran of the Korean War; it really did seem authentic. It had all the excitement and emotion of well-written history (I find history exciting and moving,...more
A college graduate student, Yu Yuan has an uneasy relationship with the communist leadership in the camps, but his knowledge of English makes him indispensable as an interpreter and he witnesses key events and decisions.
The first few chapters describe the poor preparation of Yuan's unit, disaster in an attack pushed too far, and a desperate atte...more
The opening chapters actually involve some fighting in Korea, but these are sparsely detailed. Yu Yuan isn't much of a soldier - nor, really, are any of the so-called People's Volunteers, but they are th...more
Nach "Ein freies Leben" und "Warten" hatte ich erwartet, auch in "Kriegspack" jene eigenartige ruhige Kraft zu finden, deren ruhiges und zugleich beklemmendes Beschreiben die Bücher von Ha Jin ausmacht.
Tatsächlich ist auch dieses Buch davon geprägt, die Lebensrealität der Chinesen, die im Koreakrieg gefangen genommen werden, blieb mir aber so fremd, dass ich irgendwann abgebrochen habe.
Ich wollte gar nicht mehr w...more
"Some men would not shoot their draft animals, but afraid other might kill them for meat, they set them free. Some of the horses and mules wouldn't go away and followed their former keeps to this shore."
"A large mole kept moving near the edge of Chaolin's left eye as he spoke."
"We were all like hungry ghosts, fearful but unable to stop wandering around."
"I hadn't come across a book for half a year. the deprivation had whetted my appetit...more
Critics agree that War Trash, by the National Book Award-winning author, has an unusual tone. Yu's methodical, even pedantic storytelling of the Chinese soldiers taken prisoner by U.N. forces struck some critics as dull; many complained of slow patches. However, several readers praised this very slowness. To them, Yu's is the soft voice of a man who wants to record a painful past without sensationalism. The New York Times Book Review even called Yu "one of the most fully realized characters to e...more
Second, at times it feels like the main character just happened to experience ever single possible event that occurred in Chinese/North Korean POW camps during the Korean war, owing to an author who really just wanted to cram a lot of the historical stuff in there.
Still, while the book remains fiction, it's an interesting start to learning about the Chinese side of the confl...more
Initially, I thought the writing was a bit off, I couldn't put my finger on it, bu...more
I book that reflects the brutal stupidity of war and the greed and cruelty of power - wherever it comes from or whoever wealds it. The participants are by turn cruel, sympathetic, selfish, kind and self-centred. This book reflects the impossibility of winning any war - there are always only losers and thise who gain very little by overw...more
I thought it was an interesting choice by the author to write such a sympathetic character as the narrator of a pseudo-memoir. If this character is truly fictitious, then the author has all the freedom in...more
After Mao takes over China, newly-Communist Chinese soldiers fight in the Korean War as a "volunteer army" (so as not to officially implicate China). When captured by the Americans, the Chinese are offered the chance either to go back to China or to go to Taiwan with the Nationalists (the party overthrown by Mao and the Communists).
This PEN/Faulkner award-winning novel is the fictional memoir of Yu Yuan, a POW at several camps and a frequent pawn between the pro-Nationalists and the Communists. It's a dense read with some serious history and military strategy. The scale of human s...more