Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Crazed” as Want to Read:
The Crazed
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Crazed

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  1,978 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Professor Yang, a respected teacher of literature, has had a stroke and it falls to Jian Wan - who is also engaged to Yang's daughter - to care for him. It initially seems a simple duty until the professor begins to rave, pleading with invisible tormentors and denouncing his family...

Are these just manifestations of illness, or is Yang spewing up the truth? In a China conv
Paperback, 336 pages
Published 2005 by Random House (first published 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Crazed, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Crazed

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,978 ratings  ·  186 reviews

Sort order
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china, fiction, 21-ce
Ha Jin is subtle. He doesn't beat us over the head with an overview of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. So the non-Chinese reader can be a little lost here without that background. The best preparation I can think of is Nien Cheng's magnificent Life and Death in Shanghai. The Cultural Revolution was a world turned upside down. Anyone subject to foreign influences—intellectuals, officials, students, artists and dissidents—was labeled a "rightist" or "counterrevolutionary." They were humiliated, i ...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
First, let me say, I loved the feel of the paper in this book. LOVED it. It felt good on my fingers. Please someone tell me I'm not alone on this? I don't know when I last noticed paper quality... it was lovely.

Now, the book itself was okay. I wanted more, and maybe that's my fault. Ha Jin tells an amazing story, but honestly, I was turned off by the reciting of poems and chants and songs. It got old. Not to mention I am not a huge poetry person either (yes, there are exceptions) but this was bl
Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Ok. First of all do NOT read this book's description on Goodreads, it ruins the whole book! Also don't listen to these fools' reviews whining about this book: "its boring" "the end mystifies me" and so on. How anyone could be "mystified" by the end of this book, or could have "no idea what Ha Jin was trying to say", leaves me incredulous.
I'll admit I also thought it was monotonous at first. I was mildly interested for the first 100 pages--but after that I was totally consumed. The writing is si
Allison Cohan
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that I was pretty sure would be boring but somehow I got sucked in. The story surrounds a Chinese professor who suddenly falls ill (and has a stroke, I think) and the care that is given to him by one of his students who is soon to be his son-in-law. The end of the book focuses on the uprisings at Tienamen Square and causes the protagonist to call into question his role in the world and whether he wants to be an academic. I know there is a lot of meaning in this book, b ...more
Stephen Douglas Rowland
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Staggering. Without a doubt this is Ha Jin's finest, most important novel. I was fairly stunned by the extraordinary War Trash, but this one is more cogent and obviously more personal, filled with gut-wrenching urgency, cynicism, and despair.
A. S.
Apr 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
As a university student applying to graduate studies, I realize how tough it can be with "office politics" getting in the way of research. But as a student in a democratic and free country, I appreciate that I can go in any direction that my research takes me (provided I can secure funding). Ha Jin's novel The Crazed gives us a view into Chinese scholarship of the recent past, and, like the main character Jian Wan, makes us question the present and the future of studies in a highly insular commu ...more
Jul 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Ha Jin offers an insight into China's culture that is at once confronting and revealing. Although his work is driven by seemingly ordinary plots, the real beauty is in his portrayal of a late twentieth-century China, as it wrestles with its inner turmoil between traditional values and contemporary influences.

I've read a few reviews that criticise the first half of The Crazed for being slow and uninteresting, but nothing could be further from the truth. Granted, there is a certain softness inhera
Stephen Gallup
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My first thought on finishing was chagrin that I might easily have gone through life without reading or even knowing about this great novel. I just happened to spot it on the library shelf, and picked it up because I'd liked Waiting .

It's true that I have a special interest in stories about China, but what makes this one so special for me is the way the narrator, Jian, is handled. He's a young graduate student, engaged to be married, with important exams looming, who must put everything on hold
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cina
pazzia o libera espressione?

un professore colpito da ictus
un allievo e suo futuro genero che lo assite
la parlantina si scioglie e le parole vengono fuori,
ma in certe situazioni è meglio pensare di essere di fronte alla pazzia...
per tutto il libro ci lasciano pensare che il pazzo sia il vecchio professore
straparla, ricorda il suo passato e mette in discussione la sua vita
le donne, la carriera e la scelta di essere uno studioso
il povero Jian non può che seguire i suoi deliri e porsi la dom
Graham Wilhauk
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This was really close to a 4 out of 5 stars, but the ending was just not enough for me. The last 100 pages were incredible as a whole, if you subtract the last 3 to 4 pages, and there were some truly incredible moments in here. However, I just don't think Ha Jin focused on the right thing here. The poetry he puts into this book seems to be in the way of the story. It is the equivalent of someone shaking a bunch of car keys in your face while you are watching a movie like "Citizen Kane" or "Dr. S ...more
Virginia O'connell
Having read 'Waiting' by the same author, I was intrigued by what this book would offer. On the whole, it was a fairly enjoyable read. I found the parts where Ha Jin describes life in China at the time interesting, and wish there had been more of this in the book. The end chapters depicting the horrors of Tiananmen Square were brutally told, conveying the sense of injustice and fear that the events engendered. However, despite being the main main theme of the novel, I found the hospitalised uncl ...more
3.5* arrotondate a 4*
All'inizio lo trovavo un po' troppo crudo e orrorifico, fra gengivite, sporco corporale e altre cose simpatiche, ma andando avanti ho apprezzato molto la vena malinconica e riflessiva che percorre tutto il romanzo. In realtà non succede molto, e a me normalmente non piacciono troppo i libri incentrati sullo svilupparsi dell'io, ma qui ho trovato che i turbamenti interiori e le riflessioni fossero ben bilanciate con la storia, complice anche una narrazione in prima persona ch
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My first time reading a work of Ha Jin. His writing kept me completely enthralled throughout. It's simple, with such an amazing command of vocabulary & description. I had no previous knowledge of the history of China & the revolution included in this story but this work has peaked my interest to research further. The length of the book is perfect. It leaves you not only wanting more but thinking about the characters after it ends. Ready to read "Waiting".
Horace Derwent
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
the book is small, smaller than my palm, the letters are small either, otherwise the book'd be perfect
Ryan Ward
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Takes a really original premise to explore issues of politics, identity, conformity, individuality, and social and moral duty. The prose is restrained, terse, and elegant. Extremely creative and empathetic. An important novel.
Christy Joy
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was claustrophobically bleak but incredibly well done. It’s the end of the 1980’s in China and Jian is a graduate student. When his professor (whose daughter he is dating) has a stroke, Jian has to spend hours waiting at his teacher’s bedside and listening to his professor’s delirious rambling.

His professor suffered as an intellectual during the cultural revolution, and through listening to his ramblings Jian tries to piece together information about his teacher’s personal life past and pr
Jan 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
For the fact that I had to review an online synapsis of what this book was about, says it all. Cold, boring, and a teaser in the beginning you can see coming from a mile away. I grabbed it because the author is a celebrated Boston University professor, and he had acclaim for his previous book. This thin read is definitely thin. Tiananmen Square flashback and a strained relationship. Skip!
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
a simple read, and at first, you're thinking,what the heck is this about? because each chapter goes off into different tangents, and you're trying to grasp Jian's thoughts, but you don't really follow--and that itself is intriguing. So by the end, you're still wondering and putting the puzzle pieces together. Interesting read and totally worthwhile if you're searching for banned books.
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melody by: Patti Witt
A stroke victim sometimes babbles nonsense that just might be more truthful than his pre-stroke talk. The message of the book seems a little jumbled to me. But liked the exposure to an insider's view of Chinese academic life.
Apr 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
It took awhile to get into this...slow going, but not bad.
Conchita Matson
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as some of his others as the subject matter was more serious; but still beautifully written.
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: Čína
Dokonale gradovaný příběh mladého muže, jehož osobní život se ocitá v krizi ve stejné době, kdy vrcholí krize čínské společnosti, na jaře 1989. Příběh o deziluzi.

Jedná se o Cha Ťinův čtvrtý román, který jsem měla to potěšení číst a netuším, zda se prostě vypsal (dva z románů, které jsem četla, patří k jeho prvním, tento je třetí), nebo se zlepšilo i mé porozumění pro čínská specifika, nicméně jeho tvorba se mi líbí čím dál tím víc.

Mladý Ťien má ve svém životě jasno. Je zasnoubený s dcerou profes
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
The Crazed was the first of Ha Jin’s books I read after stumbling across it as a new release when working at a public library. I did not remember much about the book other than a considerable feeling of disappointment and a few of the main characters. After re-reading War Trash (which has become my favorite of his novels), I decided to revisit The Crazed as well.

The Crazed shares many common themes with the better known Waiting. Both novels mix a detailed look at domestic China (complete with th
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book, from start to finish. The writing is lucid, illuminating, often begging for re-savoring. The plot is relatively straightforward, proceeding forward with only essential looks in the rear view mirror. The characters are memorable, finely sketched and despite the cultural divide, relatively easy to relate to.

The story begins when a Chinese literature professor has a stroke, a somewhat unusual stroke, and his future son-in-law and devoted student is called to the hospital t
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This really had made me see and feel the frustrations of someone in that point of history. Do I dare dream again?
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 25, 2008 rated it liked it
The Crazed tells the story of Jien Wen, a graduate student in China during the Tienanmen Square uprising. When his soon to be father-in-law, and academic mentor, suffers a debilitating stroke, Jien is tasked as one of his caretakers. Jien spends every afternoon attempting to study for his PhD qualifying exams, but instead finds himself distracted by his old professor's ranting and raving about Mao and the weaknesses of being an academic. At first, Jien dismisses everything as the delusional word ...more
This book at times was frustrating. Ha Jin does have an excellent use of the language. He also never plans on going back to live in China, due to the content of this book.

The Crazed is about Jian, a master's graduate student who is preparing for his PhD tests that will qualify him to transfer to the highly reputable Beijing University, when his advisor suffers from a stroke. His advisor is also his fiancee's father, who lives in Beijing, and is preparing for medical tests to become a pediatricia
Jul 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was good. It gave me (as did Waiting) such an amazing glimpse in to the personal/cultural differences between Chinese life and ours. And it was an interesting "young man finds himself" story.

There was one part in the story where the main character's literature professor is giving his theory on the difference between Western and Eastern poetry. He says that Western society is built on the individual, and so a writer protects his individuality as something precious and adopts a persona for wr
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was deeply impressed by this novel.

What stunned me first: the similarity between the description of the communist regime in China and everything I've heard and read about the Bulgarian socialist period. Cultures so different, but reacting in almost the same way: there have been similar stories in my home country, as well. People deprived of their dignity, of the right to choose a life for themselves, to speak their mind openly... Maybe that's a strong reason to feel sympathy for the strugglin
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Ha Jin...The Crazed, Ha Jim In General 4 20 Aug 10, 2012 08:10AM  
  • Auschwitz Report
  • The Virago Book of Fairy Tales
  • Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Shit?: The Encyclopedia of Modern Life
  • Ten Sorry Tales
  • A Guide for Grown-ups: Essential Wisdom from the Collected Works of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • Dream of the Walled City
  • Does Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Unsettling, Witty Answers to Questions You Never Thought You Wanted to Ask
  • Sounds of the River: A Young Man's University Days in Beijing
  • Little Hut of Leaping Fishes
  • A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
  • Elephant and Other Stories
  • Monkey King
  • Virgin Soul
  • Wild Ginger
  • Trance
  • February Flowers
  • Brothers
  • My Life as Emperor
Ha Jin is the pen name of Jin Xuefei, 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.
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »