A Map of Betrayal

A Map of Betrayal

Book - 2014
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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.
Publisher: New York :, Pantheon Books,, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780307911605
0307911608
Characteristics: 280 pages ; 25 cm

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b
bearkeeper
Nov 29, 2016

In spite of a historically interesting setting, the book is too heavy with details and some parts read like a high school history text - very boring. The characters are underdeveloped and cardboard, so it's difficult to relate to or develop empathy toward them. I was really disappointed, after reading Ha Jin's excellent novel Waiting. I was not able to finish it, and just skimmed the second half to try and see if anything improved but alas, it did not.

tritonesub Nov 09, 2015

After I finished the book, it was interesting to read up on Larry Wu-Tai Chin (an actual Chinese spy) on whom this novel is loosely based upon. The writing is dry, which allows the reader to experience the distance from emotion the main character Gary must have felt in order to keep living a life full of secrets, lies and betrayal, and still believe that he was doing a great service to the world. This is very different from the other books by Ha Jin that I have read. Nonetheless, it is still a very powerful and though-provoking read.

r
Rock_Shadow
Jan 27, 2015

I loved Waiting and War Trash, but A Map of Betrayal is so dry that I gave up reading it, and just skimmed through after page 72. Fascinating subject, but too much description, explanation, and history lessons, rather than a story. Big disappointment.

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