From the award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash: an urgent, timely novel that follows an aspiring author, an outrageous book idea, and a lone journalist’s dogged quest for truth in the Internet age.
New York, 2005. Chinese expatriate Feng Danlin is a fiercely principled reporter at a small news agency that produces a website read by the Chinese diaspora around 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 emerge from this investigation with his career—and his life—still intact. A brilliant, darkly funny story of corruption, integrity, and the power of the pen, The Boat Rocker is a tour de force of modern fiction.
In his latest novel, Ha Jin (Waiting) takes aim at exploitative novels and international relations as he tells the story of Feng Danlin, a Chinese expatriate journalist living in New York and working for an independent, and influential, Chinese news agency. The year is 2005, and when word comes in that Danlin's ex-wife, Yan Haili, has written a novel touted by the Chinese government as an instant worldwide bestseller, he pens several expos s concerning the book, challenging everything from the novel's lackluster style and use of a 9/11 backdrop to Haili's claims that she has signed a million-dollar-plus deal to adapt her tale into a Hollywood film. It isn't long before Danlin's articles gain traction and are reprinted throughout China. He finds himself celebrated by readers, but also the target of a series of verbal and written attacks by Haili and her entourage, and his boat rocking leaves many wondering if, by exposing Haili as a liar and the Chinese government as nefarious, Danlin may also be damaging potential Chinese/American interactions. Ha Jin stretches Danlin's initial missives, though amusing, nearly to the point of repetitive exhaustion, yet as the novel shifts focus from small squabbles to a more worldly narrative dissecting homeland loyalty and international relationships, it gains momentum. Ha Jin's prose is always pleasurable to read.