A Map of Betrayal

A Map of Betrayal

3.4 (1,916 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.4 (1,916 ratings by Goodreads)

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A "Christian Science Monitor" Best Book of the Year
From 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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 157 x 236 x 33mm | 544g
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0307911608
  • 9780307911605
  • 923,148

Review Text

[A] heartbreaking portrait of a spy torn between two countries. . . . . Poignant. . . . Spare yet powerful.
-Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor"One of the great triumphs of A Map of Betrayal is how it uncovers and underscores the similarities between the domestic and the political, the family and the larger culture. . . . Lilian strives not to judge but to understand. She searches for a capacious, forgiving, and subtle interpretation of a struggling soul. Gary's contradictions, rationalizations, and defenses are humanized in a way that makes his life-defining reversals believable Even as he acts in duplicitous ways, we empathize with him, isolated and lonely in an unfamiliar country, falsely reassured by his handler that his Chinese family is being well taken care of, striving to be a good employee and patriot."-Priscilla Gilman, The Boston Globe"Ha, a former People's Liberation Army soldier who has spent his adult life as an academic in the U.S., deftly explores the parallels between an immigrant's experience and an informant's-the ambivalence, the delusion, the sense of warring loyalties."- The New Yorker"The book stands out for the way it straddles a number of worlds-China and the U.S., family life and adultery-and in Shang's case, the torturous inner life of a man torn between loyalty to two nations."-Alan Cheuse, NPR"Continues his astute examination of the immigrant Chinese experience in this country. . . . A fascinating window into contemporary China, especially the life of young men and women: their dating practices, their use of new technology, and their uneasy relationship with the Chinese government. . . . Ha Jin's writing has a serene simplicity. He slowly and deliberately constructs the edifice of his narrative, and because of this gradual buildup and Gary's apparent resignation to his fate, the last third of the novel packs a powerful punch that is both poignant and unexpected. It is comforting as a reader to be in the hands of such a masterful storyteller."-David Takami, The Seattle Times"With one foot in China and the other in the United States, Ha Jin is the quintessential Chinese-American writer. . . . In his absorbing new book, A Map of Betrayal , the author offers his most searing portrait yet of divided loyalties."-Kevin Nance, Chicago Tribune"International intrigue and familial secrets merge in A Map of Betrayal , a subtle page-turner by the National Book Award-winning author of Waiting . In the vein of John le Carré, Ha Jin delves into his profoundly ambivalent antihero Gary Shang, a high-ranking CIA translator who passed state secrets to operatives in Mao's China from 1949 until 1980, when he was finally outed as a mole. . . . The novel expertly chronicles the fraught relationship between the U.S. and modern China with plainspoken clarity. . . . A Map of Betrayal works on two levels-as a startling thriller about a double agent whose carefully regimented life falls apart as soon as his cover gets blown, and as a moving family saga, the story of a hardworking immigrant father whose reticence masks wells of deeply held secrets."-Stephan Lee, Entertainment Weekly"With a National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkners and a Pulitzer nomination under his belt, Ha Jin is one of America's most decorated living novelists. He's made a name for himself writing beautiful stories centered in China, where he was born and raised. . . . In a way, A Map of Betrayal is an innovative twist on an immigrant novel, exploring themes of identity, assimilation and confused loyalties through the high-stakes narrative of a spy novel. . . . A poignant novel that portrays the emotional drama of an immigrant torn apart by conflicting loyalties and 'bone-deep loneliness.''If only he could become a citizen of both countries, a man of the world,' comes Gary's lament. He may be a traitor and a superspy, but his tragedy is relatable, almost simple. It should strike many close to home." -Steph Cha, Los Angeles Tim
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Review quote

"As a novel of espionage, the latest from the prize-winning author satisfies like the best of John le Carre, similarly demystifying and deglamorizing the process of gathering information and the ambiguous morality that operates in shades of gray. . . [T]he issues of love and loyalty that permeate the novel aren't merely political, but deeply personal. . . . Subtle, masterful and bittersweet storytelling that operates on a number of different levels." --"Kirkus Reviews" (starred)
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About Ha Jin

HA JIN left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of six novels, four story collections, three volumes of poetry, and a book of essays. He has received the National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, the Asian American Literary Award, and the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. In 2014 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ha Jin lives in the Boston area and is a professor of English at Boston University.
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Rating details

1,916 ratings
3.4 out of 5 stars
5 12% (228)
4 35% (662)
3 38% (728)
2 13% (243)
1 3% (55)
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