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War Trash by Ha Jin
War Trash tells the story of Yu Yuan, forced to volunteer as part of the People's Liberation Army in Korea where he was captured and forced into POW camps run by the Americans and South Koreans. Not only must he survive the poor conditions and sadistic treatment by his captors, but he's caught between the communists and nationalists among the Chinese. Since he speaks English, he is used, bullied, and threatened by all that need his language skills to communicate with others. Yu Yuan will be forced to choose his alliance. If he sides with the nationalists, he'll be repatriated to Taiwan after the war and enjoy a life much more free than one back in China. If he allies with the communists, he can return to his family and fianceé, but to a life closely watched and full of proscriptions. Ha Jin brings to life a man who must find his strength to survive as one of the war trash left behind after the fighting. War Trash has received positive reviews with the New York Times saying, "It's a brilliant and original enjambment, and Ha Jin pulls it off with mastery; the result is that his narrator, Yu Yuan, is one of the most fully realized characters to emerge from the fictional world in years."
Winner of the 2005 Pen/Faulkner Prize for fiction
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