By Ha Jin
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780307743732, 300pp.)
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
List Price: $15.95*
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It's 1937, and the Japanese are poised to invade Nanjing. Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary and the dean of Jinling Women's College, decides to remain at the school, convinced that her American citizenship will help her safeguard the welfare of the Chinese men and women who work there. She is painfully mistaken. In the aftermath of the invasion, the school becomes a refugee camp for more than ten thousand homeless women and children, and Vautrin must struggle, day after day, to intercede on the behalf of the hapless victims. Yet even when order and civility are restored, she remains deeply embattled, always haunted by the lives she could not save.
At once a searing story that unfurls during one of the darkest moments of the twentieth century and an indelible portrait of a singular and brave woman, "Nanjing Requiem" is another tour de force from the National Book Award-winning author of "Waiting.