Tara Chevrestt's Reviews > Nanjing Requiem

Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin
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's review
Oct 12, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2011-release, chinese-history-culture, historical-fiction, vine, arc
Read from October 10 to 12, 2011

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.

The second part is the aftermath. The raped women are now pregnant or committing suicide. Older women are sent home from the refuge only to be raped in the streets. Food is going missing from the soup kitchen. The world is not hearing the right story of Nanjing. Women are trying to get their husbands out of prison/work camps.

In the third part, Minnie tries to pick up the pieces of what is left of her school.

This was supposed to be a novel, but it read more like a war report. It completely lacked a personal feel. The narrator had a husband and children and rarely said anything about them. I didn't learn anything about Minnie that I couldn't find by googling or looking at Wiki. I wanted inside her head. I never got there. Where does she sleep? Does she cry herself to sleep? How does she FEEL? What were her hopes and dreams? Her past? It told me about nothing except the fall of Nanjing.
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Reading Progress

10/11/2011 page 50
17.0% "Informative, but dry. I am learning all about the "rape of Nanjing," but nothing personal about the people and next to nothing about Minnie, the woman this is supposed to chronicle." 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-2)

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message 2: by Bill (new)

Bill I would not care to spend time and the emotionally draining effort to read such an account unless it offered some insight either into the reasons perpetrators can commit such horrors or some ways that we can prevent it from happening. I am currently wading thru The Druggist of Auswitz and have a similar response.

Tara Chevrestt Depressing, isn't it? Accounts such as this.

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