The Bridegroom

Jin, Ha. The Bridegroom: stories. New York: Pantheon Books, 2000.

“A Tiger-Fighter is Hard To Find”
It all starts with a letter from the governor’s office, praising a television series about a tiger killer. The show is a good example of a hero but there is one tiny flaw – the tiger doesn’t look realistic enough. If they can solve that dilemma their series might be chosen to compete for a national prize. The solution? The hero should battle a real tiger, a real Siberian caught in the mountains. Told from the point of the lowly set clerk who has the responsibility of making each take look like the last, he is witness to the obsession which dominates cast and crew behavior once the idea of competing for a national prize sets in. They go to great lengths to secure the tiger and even greater lengths to find someone to “kill” the tiger. It is a devastating story.

“After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town”
A sad story about an American chain restaurant in China – a culinary culture clash. Five restaurant employees are confused by their Americanized friend. He used to be one of them until he went to America and came back with a changed name and a new attitude. As their resentment towards him grows the five friends set up to sabotage the restaurant only to have their plan backfire horribly.

In both stories the major theme is a loss of control and the lengths people will go to to get it back.

Reason read: June is National Short Story month….have I said that before?

Author fact: Ha Jin is probably better known for his novel Waiting.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “China Voices” (p 110).

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