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Winter-Spring 2010 Table of Contents

A Good Fall

Celebrated author, professor tackles the Chinese-American experience

| From Alumni Books | By Susan Seligson

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In the video above, Ha Jin (GRS'94) reads "A Composer and His Parakeets," a story from his new collection. Watch a longer reading from A Good Fall. Photo by Vernon Doucette.

The lastest from National Book Award winner and BU professor Ha Jin is a collection of twelve short stories unfolding in and around Queens, New York City’s most richly diverse borough. This setting acts as the lens through which the reader follows a group of Chinese-Americans — old, young, ambitious, defeated — as they straddle cultures and try to grab and hold onto a morsel of happiness. From the monk who escapes deportation in a battery-powered airport cart to the widow who must choose between her younger lover (who is also her daughter’s violin teacher) and her daughter, Jin’s characters are hobbled by self-doubt. Yet despite their bouts of anger and spite, they are all good at heart.

A Good Fall (Pantheon)

Jin’s stories offer more than quirky characters and pitch-perfect dialogue — they are also quite funny. One simply begins, “Our grandchildren hate us.” In “The Bane of the Internet,” the narrator explains that lending money to her status-obsessed sister in China would amount to “hitting a dog with a meatball — nothing would come back.” A lonely man’s reluctant love affair with his itinerant girlfriend’s bird in “A Composer and His Parakeets” is as silly and playful as it is heartbreaking. Jin’s tender exasperation with his culture, as well as his love of two languages, sings out of every page.

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Comments

On Wednesday, 06/2/2010 at 11:43pm, Kathryn Tisei Colvario (SED'70) wrote:

I find the news releases concerning the non-graduation of the class of 1970 and the subsequent 40 year offer to experience 'graduating' somewhat inaccurate. although we did not have a graduation in 1970, in 980 the class was invited to a graduation. Paul Simon was the speaker. I attended with my best college friend, Hilda Bromberg Egel. I also brought my first born with to witness his mother's graduation. Perhaps BU could extend an offer of tuition assistance to us as we enter the next phase of our lives. I know I'm ready for the next chapter of my live. Now, that would be an invitation.

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