What is LOVE?
This question and its answer might sound cliché afterall. But somehow it is important that so many fail to articulate what it is LOVE, instead they mistake it as the feeling they believe it is.
Let me tell you this. You wherever you are, whoever you are, may perhaps be that person. And of course none of us wants to live a life with the wrong love, the wrong person let alone years been spent to live with it/him/her.
What if, you are that person living 18 years believing you love this person, want to live with her/him for the rest of your life. Then after that longwaiting you realize, she is not the one. How would you feel?
That is basically what happens in this book, Waiting by Ha Jin. It is Lin Kong and Manna Wu, having courtship for 18 years while Shuyu the village girl is the wife of his, takes care of everything and their only girl back home in the Goose Village. It sounds rather cruel to Shuyu, but knowing that she is all fine with it your heart (readers) will grow tender just as Shuyu’s is.
She is a simple-hearted woman whose life is dedicated for her husband. Anything said by Lin Kong, she will do it without any hesitation, without any question. She trusts him whole-heartedly. Never does she complain about her life or that her husband is having affair with another woman. In fact, when every summer Lin comes home to divorce her, she agrees to it although she will change her mind in court afterward.
Despite the romance or the drama being clichè, Ha Jin brings something more powerful. It is the story background, takes back in 1960s before the Cultural Revolutionary of China where the culture, the customs and the rules are very strict. In the army, no woman and man are allowed to walk together except the two are engaged or married. Another now-sound-odd rule is that, man cannot divorce his loyal wife without her consent or else he will be discharged from the army. Later when the marriage reaches 18 years or more, husband or wife can go to the court and divorce his or her spouse with or without his/her consent.
Waiting by Ha Jin also offers wide range of vocab which somehow blows up my mind as English is Ha Jin’s Second Language. It is really good to read a book which is not only rich by its historical background or meaningful stories, but also enriching in its language aspects.