A map of betrayal

Ha Jin, 1956-

Book - 2014

"From the award-winning author of Waiting: a spare, haunting tale of espionage and conflicted loyalties that spans half a century in the entwined histories of two countries--China and the United States--and two families as it explores the complicated terrain of love and honor. When Lilian Shang, born and raised in America, discovers her father's diary after the death of her parents, she is shocked by the secrets it contains. She knew that her father, Gary, convicted decades ago of bei...ng a mole in the CIA, was the most important Chinese spy ever caught. But his diary--an astonishing chronicle of his journey from 1949 Shanghai to Okinawa to Langley, Virginia--reveals the pain and longing that his double life entailed. The trail leads Lilian to China, to her father's long-abandoned other family, whose existence she and her Irish American mother never suspected. As Lilian begins to fathom her father's dilemma--torn between loyalty to his motherland and the love he came to feel for his adopted country--she sees how his sense of duty distorted his life. But as she starts to understand that Gary, too, had been betrayed, she finds that it is up to her to prevent his tragedy from damaging yet another generation of her family"--

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1st Floor FICTION/Jin Ha Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Spy stories
Published
New York : Pantheon Books [2014]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
280 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780307911605
0307911608
Main Author
Ha Jin, 1956- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Ha Jin (Nanjing Requiem, 2011) presents a chillingly matter-of-fact tale of espionage and treachery told in alternating narratives. In the present, Lilian Shang, a pragmatic Maryland history professor, knows that her late father, Gary, was "the biggest Chinese spy ever caught in North America," but she had no idea how much he suffered until his mistress gives her his diaries. When she travels to China on a Fulbright, she eludes the authorities to meet her newly discovered half-sister and niece, then returns home and encounters her enigmatic nephew. Meanwhile, we see Gary as a college graduate fluent in English, recruited by the Communists in 1949 and sent to Washington, D.C., where he dutifully and anxiously works his way up the ranks at the CIA. Perpetually homesick and tormented by his dangerous double life, he clings to the belief that his drastic sacrifices are benefiting his parents and lovely wife, whom he pines for even as he forms an American family. As Gary's brooding, many-layered story of delusion and betrayal suspensefully unfolds, Ha Jin offers startlingly redefining views of the strategic evolution of U.S.-Chinese relations during the nuclear arms race, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and Ping-Pong diplomacy. A sharply ironic, stealthily devastating tale of the tragic cost of "blind" patriotism, told by a master of clarifying fiction, that unites the personal and the geopolitical. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

After her parents' deaths, Lilian Shang unearths the diary of her Chinese-born father, a CIA agent convicted many years previously of spying for China. Through the diary, Lilian follows her father's difficult journey from 1949 Shanghai to Okinawa to America and learns of yet another duplicity: unknown to her or her Irish American mother, he had another family in China, long since left behind. She also comes to understand that despite his loyalty to China, her father had come to love his adopted country. What price duty? You can expect an elegant answer from this multi-award-winning author. [Page 74]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

CIA agent Gary Shang was convicted of spying for China yet called himself "a patriot of both the United States and China." Decades after Gary's death, Lilian, his only child with his American wife, unexpectedly inherits his diary from his longtime mistress and discovers 30 years of his in-between existence. A Fulbright lectureship gives Lilian, now a middle-aged professor, the opportunity to teach a semester in China, where she finds her father's first family, whom he had been forced to abandon. Suddenly, Lilian is a sister and an aunt, which brings new responsibilities, realizations, and rewards. Like his exquisite National Book Award-winning Waiting, Jin's latest is a meticulous observation of a manipulated life only partially lived. Presenting dovetailing narratives that feature Gary's career from 1949 to 1979 and Lilian's contemporary search and subsequent revelations, he deftly plots a family history caught between uncompromising attachments and inevitable betrayals. Spy story it may be, but what lingers is the immeasurable human toll. VERDICT Jin's groupies might startle at the occasional raw language not usually found in the author's pages, but they won't be disappointed. Newbie readers will undoubtedly rejoice to discover Jin's unadorned, chilling Betrayal. [See Prepub Alert, 5/12/14.]—Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC [Page 66]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

From the National Book Award– and PEN/Faulkner-winning author Jin (Waiting) comes a woman's inquisition into the limits of her father's loyalty to his nation and family. The narrative alternates between the present day and the years spanning 1949 to 1989. In the present, American-born Lillian Shang unravels her father Gary's mysterious life as a U.S.-based Chinese spy feeding information to the Mao administration. She pieces together his evolution from student, to spy, then prisoner—he ultimately ended up being a high-profile mole caught by the CIA. Lillian undertakes her research primarily through Gary's extensive diaries, bequeathed to Lillian by his longtime mistress. Gary's story is too messy for journalistic prose alone, so Lillian travels to northeast China to connect with his other family. In doing so, she sees the pervasive duplicity that defined Gary's life abroad; his family members know little about what's happened to him since leaving decades before. When Lillian's husband is embroiled in a dubious microchip scheme with a newly acquainted Chinese cousin, the FBI materializes and Lillian must evaluate whether to respond with familial fidelity or self-preservation. Jin's subtle prose entrances; he divulges information measuredly, almost reluctantly. The result is a captivating tale that probes the Chinese political state over the past half century. (Nov.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"From the award-winning author of Waiting: a spare, haunting tale of espionage and conflicted loyalties that spans half a century in the entwined histories of two countries--China and the United States--and two families as it explores the complicated terrain of love and honor. When Lilian Shang, born and raised in America, discovers her father's diary after the death of her parents, she is shocked by the secrets it contains. She knew that her father, Gary, convicted decades ago of being a mole in the CIA, was the most important Chinese spy ever caught. But his diary--an astonishing chronicle of his journey from 1949 Shanghai to Okinawa to Langley, Virginia--reveals the pain and longing that his double life entailed. The trail leads Lilian to China, to her father's long-abandoned other family, whose existence she and her Irish American mother never suspected. As Lilian begins to fathom her father's dilemma--torn between loyalty to his motherland and the love he came to feel for his adopted country--she sees how his sense of duty distorted his life. But as she starts to understand that Gary, too, had been betrayed, she finds that it is up to her to prevent his tragedy from damaging yet another generation of her family"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Shocked by discoveries in her late CIA mole father's diary, Lilian Shang travels to China to meet the family her father was forced to abandon after World War II.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Shocked by discoveries in her late CIA mole father's diary, Lilian Shang travels to China to meet the family her father was forced to abandon after World War II. By the National Book Award-winning author of Waiting. 40,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the YearFrom the award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash: a riveting tale of espionage and conflicted loyalties that spans half a century in the entwined histories of two countries—China and the United States—and two families.When Lilian Shang, born and raised in America, discovers her father’s diary after the death of her parents, she is shocked by the secrets it contains. She knew that her father, Gary, convicted decades ago of being a mole in the CIA, was the most important Chinese spy ever caught. But his diary, an astonishing chronicle of his journey as a Communist intelligence agent, reveals the pain and longing that his double life entailed—and point to a hidden second family that he’d left behind in China. As Lilian follows her father’s trail back into the Chinese provinces, she begins to grasp the extent of his dilemma: he is a man torn between loyalty to his motherland and the love he came to feel for his adopted country. She sees how his sense of duty distorted his life, and as she starts to understand that Gary too had been betrayed, Lilian finds that it is up to her to prevent his tragedy from endangering yet another generation of Shangs.A stunning portrait of a multinational family and an unflinching inquiry into the meaning of citizenship, patriotism, and home,A Map of Betrayal is a spy novel that only Ha Jin could write.