Monday, May 21, 2012

War Trash

Last night I started reading Ha Jin's 2004 novel of that title. Several years ago, I was quite impressed his 1996 collection of short stories about life in the Chinese army, Ocean of Words.

The novel's prologue contains these moving words from protagonist Yu Yuan:
    They probably think I'm greedy, eager to see my grandson wallow in wealth. But my wish has nothing to do with money. From the depths of my heart I believe medicine is a noble, humane profession. If I were born again, I would study medical science devotedly. The thought has been rooted in my mind for five decades. I cannot explain in detail to my son and daughter-in-law why I often urge Bobby to think of becoming a doctor, because the story would involve too much horror and pain. In brief, this desire of mine had been bred by my memories of the wasted lives I saw in Korea and China. Doctors and nurses follow a different set of ethics, which enables them to transcend political nonsense and man-made enmity and to act with compassion and human decency.

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Blogger sapper05 said...

Interesting book with a good inside type view of the Prisoner of War camps during the Korean War. Brings out men's struggles between freedom, family and ideology. Enjoy.

May 23, 2012 at 9:26 AM  

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