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Booksluts Challenge #2: War Trash

War Trash

Jin, Ha

0 375 42276 5

Pantheon, 2004


So here we are again with one of these Booksluts ‘Full Frontal’ Challenge books.  My word, when I signed up for this challenge and was blithely going through the lists of award winners for the different prizes, I had really forgotten how freakin’ harrowing literary fiction can be.  This is a prime example of that – War Trash is super-intense.  This book won the PEN/Faulkner award for fiction in 2005, but was also a finalist for the Pulitzer prize.  Pretty hot shit.

And it’s no surprise really.  This book kind of epitomises, to me, everything that fiction is capable of being – characters that really make you care about what happens to them, a broadening of your senses, creation of an empathy with characters who might be outside your realm of experience.  The trick seems to be in Ha Jin’s writing – amazingly clear, emotive but not over the top, human as all get out.  To be honest, I thought that I had picked up a memoir rather than a fictional book when I first started reading it, the details were so intricate and realistic (at least to my eyes – I’ve never been to that region of the world, and apart from one university paper and some reading, don’t know much about China at all, really.  And I’ve certainly never been a prisoner of war, thank goodness).  Read the rest of this entry