Ha Jin, "A Good Fall"

A Chinese monk is let go from his temple in New York City.

(from A Good Fall)

There’s a certain type of simplicity in the title track to Ha Jin’s latest collection. It’s not like an allegory. More like, maybe, young adult fiction? I’m not trying to demean the story — I really enjoyed it — it’s just that the narrative is so straight-forward and explanatory. Maybe it’s just the right mood for a story about a monk going through simultaneous crises of money, pride, illness and identity. Even though the guy’s problems are very much in the real world, there’s this oddly earnest serenity.

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