November 14, 2008

Slow and Steady

Somehow, I found reading this book calming, despite the whole plot being focused on the main character's emotional turmoil.  It was a quick, easy read, with simple, straightforward diction.  Simple enough that I wasn't inspired enough to post any quotes from the book.  It wasn't that kind of novel.  The strength here was in the plot, and in the overwhelming simplicity of the language.  I was torn between being impressed with the starkness of the sentences, and thinking it sometimes took on qualities of a stiff translation.  

The book takes place in China and tells the story of Lin Kong, who is stuck between two worlds and two women:  on the one hand, the wife his family selected for him when he was young, who embarrasses him with her antiquated ways and remains at home in their small village while he lives and works as a doctor in the city; on the other hand, a modern, educated nurse who works at his hospital.  For seventeen summers, Lin returns to his village, where his wife always agrees to a divorce, but changes her mind at the last minute.  After seventeen years, Lin is determined to finally leave his wife to marry the woman of his choice.  

Waiting details one man's attempts to find love within the confines of a traditional society, although he soon finds himself questioning whether he himself truly knows what kind of life he wants.

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