Ha Jin (Waiting, War Trash, A Free Life) will publish a new novel on October 18 that is set during the notorious Nanjing massacre. Nanjing Requiem (Pantheon) fictionalizes the experiences of a real-life American missionary, Minnie Vautrin, who stays in China during the 1937 Japanese invasion in the hopes that she can help the community she has lived in for more than a decade. Unfortunately, nothing can stop the violence that happens in Nanjing, and Vautrin is instead forced to bear witness to one of the worst atrocities in modern history. In its aftermath, she is haunted by those she could not save.
Jin, a Chinese-American, used Vautrin’s diaries and other contemporary accounts of the massacre to research his novel. He’s written about the dark side of war before, most notably in War Trash—although our interviewer reports that he’s a playful, ebullient person in conversation.
Will you pick this one up?
Related in BookPage: reviews of Ha Jin’s previous books.