Sunday, November 16, 2008

War Trash by Ha Jin

The Korean War is often called the Forgotten War. It is, I think, an accurate name for the Korean War. It seems to me that there is too much US history to cover in a single school year. Every US History class I took, in high school and in college, always seemed to run out of time before being able to cover the Korean War. Being born in 1970, I cannot remember the Vietnam War in any real way, but my father and my wife's father are Vietnam War veterans, so I that war is certainly had an effect on my life.

This forgotten status of the Korean War led me to be excited to read War Trash. I have, since my formal education ended, gone back and read a couple of books on the Korean War. However, War Trash is narrated by a Chinese POW, so it is told from the view point of the other side. This is an interesting parallel to the book I am going to read next, The Sorrow of War. Another book I am reading for the BangBang Challenge, The Sorrow of War is about the Vietnam War and is narrated by a North Vietnamese soldier.

Despite the novelty of the narrator and subject, I only found this book mildly entertaining. Though well written, I found the narrative arc to be somewhat lacking. Perhaps this was intended in order to communicate how if feels to be a POW stuck in a limbo of sorts, waiting for both sides to negotiate a prisoner exchange agreement. But, due to what I felt was a weak plot, I would rate this book as average.


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