What is the Common Summer Reading selection for 2012?
Acclaimed author Ha Jin will open NYCAS 2012 on Friday Sept. 28, 2012 with a talk on our campus about his work and a reading from his most recent short story collection, A Good Fall (2009). All incoming first-year students in the Composition Program’s Common Summer Reading Program and students in Asian Studies will read Ha Jin’s book, attend his lecture, and discuss it in their classes at SUNY New Paltz.
Read the study guide for A Good Fall.
Ha Jin, Author of A Good Fall
Born in northeastern China in 1956, Xuefei Jin (Ha Jin is his pen name) was a teenager during the Cultural Revolution, serving in the People’s Liberation Army and educating himself in Chinese literature. After earning BA and MA degrees in English literature, he left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University, and has since done his writing in English. Jin completed his Ph.D. here in the United States and is now the author of six novels, four short story collections, and three books of poetry.
Ha Jin’s first full-length novel Waiting (1999) won both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. His novel War Trash (2004), set in the Korean War, won him a second PEN/Faulkner Award and was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His short stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Norton Introduction to Literature, and his collections have received many awards, including the Asian American Literary Award for The Bridegroom (2000), the Flannery O’Connor Award for Under the Red Flag (1997), and the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for Ocean of Words (1996). He has also received three Pushcart Prizes for fiction and a Kenyon Review Prize.
Along with A Good Fall, Jin’s recent books include the novel Nanjing Requiem (2011) and a collection of essays, The Writer as Migrant (2009). A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2006, Ha Jin lives in the Boston area and is Professor of Creative Writing at Boston University.
Ha Jin, “Exiled To English,” The New York Times (May 31, 2009)
“The Art of Fiction” -- an interview with Ha Jin in The Paris Review (2009)
Praise for A Good Fall:
"[Jin] is a master of the straightforward line; he makes the most of his spareness. As in Chekhov's late work, his writing (which is mostly stripped of adjectives and adverbs) covers a lot of ground quickly—no-frills sentences about Chinese immigrants who lead no-frills lives in New York" –The New Republic
“The storyteller's art is richly on display here. Ha Jin has a singular talent for snaring a reader. His premises are gripping, his emotional bedrock hard and true…You might even call it: captivating.” –The Washington Post
“Skillful and deeply felt. . . . The collection as a whole celebrate[s] immigrant resilience: the courage to embrace calamity, hit the pavement and keep walking toward a brighter future.” – The Los Angeles Times
“This may be Ha Jin's best work yet, his stories often ascending to the mystical penumbra we expect of Singer, Malamud, or O'Connor.” –The Huffington Post
"Has all the hallmarks of the works that arguably have made [Ha Jin] Boston’s greatest living author." —Boston Magazine
“Not to be missed. . . . A beautifully written, elegant, subtle, and yet always precise collection. . . . A Good Fall shows the daily struggles of immigrant life, but ultimately the hopefulness that can come with starting over.”
—Asian Review of Books