[BOOKS] Ha Jin joins select group with PEN/Faulkner prize
- Ha Jin joins select group with PEN/Faulkner prize
By David Mehegan, Globe Staff | March 25, 2005
A Boston University professor, Ha Jin, has joined an elite club in
becoming a two-time winner of the prestigious PEN/Faulkner award.
Jin, who lives in Foxborough, has won the 2005 PEN/Faulkner Award for
fiction for his novel, ''War Trash." It's the second time Jin, who
lives in Foxborough, has won the $15,000 prize, the largest American
literary award. Only two others writers -- Philip Roth and John Edgar
Wideman -- have won the award twice in its 25-year history.
''War Trash" is the story of a Chinese soldier taken prisoner during
the Korean War and held in a US prisoner-of-war camp in Korea.
In the camp, communist POWs are mercilessly abused by Chinese
Nationalist soldiers who have been put in charge by the Americans.
The POW leaders also mistreat their own men. The story is told by the
soldier, as an old man, in the form of a memoir for his American
In a statement, David Anthony Durham, one of the judges, called the
book a journey of ''enormous political and personal complicity, wrung
through with emotion that somehow manages to be both melancholy and
Jin, who was born in China, came to the United States in 1985 to
study at Brandeis University. He won the 1999 National Book Award and
his first PEN/Faulkner for his novel ''Waiting."
His other novels include ''In the Pond," ''The Crazed," and ''The
Bridegroom," along with short-story collections ''Ocean of Words,"
which won the PEN/Hemingway prize for first fiction, and ''Under the
Red Flag," winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction.
He has also published several volumes of poetry. All of Jin's fiction
is written in English, and all of it, prior to ''War Trash," was set
David Mehegan can be reached at mehegan@....