A song everlasting

Ha Jin, 1956-

Book - 2021

"From the universally admired, award-winning author of Waiting and The Boat Rocker, an urgent, timely novel that follows a famous Chinese singer severed from his country as he works to find his way in the United States. After popular singer Yao Tian takes a private gig in New York at the end of a tour with his state-supported choir, expecting to pick up some extra cash for his daughter's tuition fund, the consequences of his choice spiral out of control. On his return to China, he is i...nformed that the sponsors of the event were in support of Taiwan's secession and that he must deliver a formal self-criticism. When he is asked to forfeit his passport to his employer, he impulsively decides instead to return to New York to protest the government's threat to his artistic integrity. With the help of his old friend, Yabin, Tian's career begins to flourish in the United States. Soon placed on a government blacklist and thwarted by the State at every turn, it becomes increasingly clear that he may never return to China unless he denounces the freedoms that have made his new life possible. But Tian nevertheless insists on his identity as a performer, refusing to give up his art. Timely, moving, and important, A Song Everlasting is a story of hope in the face of hardship, from one of our most celebrated authors"--

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Subjects
Genres
Fiction
Published
New York : Pantheon Books [2021]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
336 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781524748791
152474879X
Main Author
Ha Jin, 1956- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Tian, the ardent singer in Ha Jin's latest scrupulously narrated and deeply enmeshing novel, aligns with the Chinese men facing treacherous adversity in America he portrayed in previous tales, the spy in A Map of Betrayal (2014) and the journalist in The Boat Rocker (2016). Tian has accepted China's rigid control of his career, given all that his prestige brings to his wife, an ambitious academic, and their teenage daughter, who hopes to attend college in the U.S. But when he's on official tour in America, and Yabin, an immigrant friend adept at self-reinvention, invites him to extend his stay for a lucrative freelance performance, Tian's one bid for a brief moment of independence pitches him and his family into dire conflict with the Chinese authorities, ultimately leaving him stranded in New York. As Tian struggles to build a new life and pursue his art, he realizes how frightening freedom is, and how revelatory. Unsure whom to trust, he nonetheless courageously stands against China's violent tyranny only to run disastrously afoul of bias and torment in America. Artists and nonconformists are always in danger everywhere. Ha Jin's intimately precise, questioning, and quietly dramatic portrait of a devoted, ever-evolving artist committed to songs that are "ecstatic and mysterious and solitary" has far-reaching and profound resonance. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

A popular singer in China, Yao Tian decides to earn some extra cash for his daughter's tuition by working a private gig in New York at the end of his state-supported choir's tour. Retribution is swift when he returns home—sponsors of the event support Taiwan's secession—and Yao flees for New York, determined to protect his artistic integrity. From the National Book Award winner. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

At the onset of the uninspired latest from Jin (The Boat Rocker), set in the early 2010s, singer Yao Tian stays behind in the U.S. for a few extra days after his state-sponsored choir's tour ends. When his employer asks him to turn over his passport as punishment, Tian instead returns to the U.S. and settles in New York City, leaving behind his wife and teenage daughter. Now free to make his own decisions, Tian performs occasionally, sending what funds he can to his family, but after the Chinese media spreads the story of a violent altercation between Tian and his manager, his reputation is tarnished. He relocates to Boston and works for a cousin on home renovation jobs, all the while clinging to his dream of restarting his singing career, but the Chinese government cancels his passport, stranding him in the U.S. with few prospects. Jin has a knack for seamlessly compressing large swaths of time, yet Tian remains something of a mystery, with little effort made to explore his singing abilities. And though the author shuttles his protagonist through a series of trials over many years, Tian's unfailing ability to overcome setbacks lessens the novel's dramatic pull. As far as itinerant heroes' quests for freedom go, this one doesn't get the heart racing. (July) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Yao Tan, a popular singer, is placed on a government blacklist and can never return to China after performing at a private gig sponsored by a supporter of Taiwan’s secession in the new novel from the award-winning author of Waiting.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From the universally admired, award-winning author of Waiting and The Boat Rocker, an urgent, timely novel that follows a famous Chinese singer severed from his country as he works to find his way in the United States. After popular singer Yao Tian takes a private gig in New York at the end of a tour with his state-supported choir, expecting to pick up some extra cash for his daughter's tuition fund, the consequences of his choice spiral out of control. On his return to China, he is informed that the sponsors of the event were in support of Taiwan's secession and that he must deliver a formal self-criticism. When he is asked to forfeit his passport to his employer, he impulsively decides instead to return to New York to protest the government's threat to his artistic integrity. With the help of his old friend, Yabin, Tian's career begins to flourish in the United States. Soon placed on a government blacklist and thwarted by the State at every turn, it becomes increasingly clear that he may never return to China unless he denounces the freedoms that have made his new life possible. But Tian nevertheless insists on his identity as a performer, refusing to give up his art. Timely, moving, and important, A Song Everlasting is a story of hope in the face of hardship, from one of our most celebrated authors"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From the universally admired, National Book Award-winning, bestselling author of Waiting—a timely novel that follows a famous Chinese singer severed from his country, as he works to find his way in the United States   At the end of a U.S. tour with his state-supported choir, popular singer Yao Tian takes a private gig in New York to pick up some extra cash for his daughter’s tuition fund, but the consequences of his choice spiral out of control. On his return to China, Tian is informed that the sponsors of the event were supporters of Taiwan’s secession, and that he must deliver a formal self-criticism. When he is asked to forfeit his passport to his employer, Tian impulsively decides instead to return to New York to protest the government’s threat to his artistic integrity.   With the help of his old friend Yabin, Tian’s career begins to flourish in the United States. But he is soon placed on a Chinese gov­ernment blacklist and thwarted by the state at every turn, and it becomes increasingly clear that he may never return to China unless he denounces the freedoms that have made his new life possible. Tian nevertheless insists on his identity as a performer, refusing to give up his art. Moving, important, and strikingly relevant to our times, A Song Everlasting is a story of hope in the face of hardship from one of our most celebrated authors.