Andy's Reviews > Waiting

Waiting by Ha Jin
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's review
Aug 22, 09

bookshelves: fiction, love-stories
Read in August, 2009

After a great introductory segment (with a great opening line) that got me excited, Waiting went rapidly downhill and remained there until its third and final act. The story is a love triangle between a country-born, city-dwelling doctor, his wife from back home, and the woman he falls in love with in the city, although the term "love triangle" has somewhat saucy connotations and this book is much less about passionate, fiery love than enduring, steady love over years and years. It's entitled Waiting, after all.

Unfortunately the book is a literary Lifetime movie for quite some time, a bland relationship story with bland drama, some predictability, and characters that mostly put you to sleep. It is bad enough to quit reading, honestly, and I might have if this were a longer book.

Things get vastly better in part three (the book is subdivided into three parts) after an event occurs that I would say demarcates the plot between one kind of "Waiting" and another. Author Ha Jin makes this sort of love story much more thoughtful and original and really almost redeems himself. The last few chapters are as good as the introduction, and the last few lines as excellent as the first one. It's a shame that in order to enjoy them you have to slog your way through a daunting amount of boredom.
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