New York, 2005. Chinese expatriate Feng Danlin is a fiercely principled reporter at a small news agency whose website is read by Chinese all over the world. Danlin’s explosive exposés have made him legendary among readers—and feared by Communist officials. But his newest assignment may be his undoing: investigating his ex-wife, Yan Haili, an unscrupulous novelist who has willingly become a pawn of the Chinese government in order to realize her dreams of literary stardom.
Haili’s scheme infuriates Danlin both morally and personally—he will do whatever it takes to expose her as a fraud. But in outing Haili, he is also provoking her powerful political allies, and he will need to draw on all of his journalistic cunning to come out of this investigation with his career—and his life—unscathed. A brilliant, darkly funny story of corruption, integrity, and the power of the pen, The Boat Rocker is a tour de force.
About the Author
Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of seven previous novels, four story collections, three volumes of poetry, and a book of essays. He has received the National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, the Asian American Literary Award, and the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. In 2014 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ha Jin lives in the Boston area and is director of the creative writing program at Boston University.
“A delicious satire. . . . One of the most unsettling books about the moral dimensions of modern journalism.” —The Washington Post
“Both entertaining and thought-provoking. . . . A powerful vehicle for the truths of our times.” —The Boston Globe
“It feels like a miracle—and a splendid irony—that an immigrant writer can fashion a novel with such quintessentially American themes from the front lines of the Chinese diaspora.” —The Seattle Times
“Savage satire. . . . [Ha Jin] is a writer of simple yet powerful gifts.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Arguably Ha Jin’s most political—and funny—novel yet.” —New York
“Convincing as well as timely. . . . [Has] a powerful moral core.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“The narrative framework is fertile ground for Jin’s brilliant and nuanced political and social observations.” —The Seattle Times
“Jin’s criticism of modern-day Communist China is stunning, easily the best part of an already well-crafted novel. I was reminded of 1984 and the passages Winston and Julia read aloud from The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.” —Nandini Balial, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Ha Jin only gets better and better. In The Boat Rocker he continues with his supply of unadorned prose, as evocative as Chekhov’s. . . . But he also draws us, so gently that we hardly notice, into some very deep questions, first about Chinese-American identity, then about identity for any person, and then about the value and the risks, for anyone, of living with integrity.” —Perry Link
“Page-turning but profound. . . . The twists and turns of Danlin’s fight with Haili make The Boat Rocker a compelling read, but Jin’s insight into nationalism, patriotism and the true cost of freedom of the press gives the novel depth and brilliance.” —BookPage
“Jin’s conceit is intriguing, even ingenious, and he dazzles with every scene in which his reporter is confronted by hostile forces. . . . Bracing and absorbing, at its heart lurks a chilling message: ‘Truth depends on how you shape and present it.’” —The National
“Laugh-out-loud funny while being as illuminating as ever.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“National Book Award-winning Ha Jin uses sly, black humor to underscore the high price of integrity, the consequences of betrayal, and the power of the written word.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Takes aim at exploitative novels and international relations. . . . Ha Jin’s prose is always pleasurable to read.” —Publishers Weekly