by Ha Jin - £12.99 Penguin Books Ltd (2006)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780141023960 | ISBN 10: 0141023961
North-East China, 1951. Yu Yuan, a fresh-faced cadet straight out of university, finds himself attached to a corps of 'volunteers' sent by Mao to help shore up the communist side in Korea at the outset of the 1951-3 War. Poorly armed and unprepared for the brutal reality of war, he is swiftly captured by American troops and incarcerated in a POW camp. There, the factional conflicts between Chinese captives - known as 'war trash' to their guards - force him to question the meaning of community and brotherhood.
Although his command of English offers Yu Yuan hope as an unofficial interpreter behind the barbed wire, it is only the idea of returning home to his beloved fiancee and widowed mother that makes any recovery of his former self seem likely. Yet, after surviving the horrors of war and imprisonment, the broken Yu must discover what home really means.
"Jin sustains his novel beautifully by drawing on the moving humanity of his main character in the face of growing inhumanity."
(Price & availability last checked: May 2018)
In booklists: Anti-War, Writers by Surname - J, World Fiction - Asia, Political Fiction, Historical Fiction, Peace and War in Fiction, In categories: Peace & Human Rights, Fiction, World - Asia, Politics & Philosophy, History & Biography,