哈金，原名金雪飞，1956年生。1977年考入黑龙江大学英语系，1984年获山东大学英美文学硕士。1985年赴美，1992年获布兰戴斯大学(Brandeis University)英美文学博士学位。在美出版了三本诗集，三本短篇小说集，两本长篇小说，其中短篇小说集《辞海》(Ocean of Words) 1997年获“美国笔会/海明威奖”，长篇小说《等待》(Waiting)1999年获美国“全美图书奖”，2000年获“美国笔会/福克纳小说奖”。
Set during the political and social turmoil of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and the years that followed it, Waiting reflects China's social changes by contrasting the two main female characters of the story. One is a traditional farmer, while the other is a modern revolutionary. Lin Kong's loveless marriage with Shuyu was arranged by his parents in the countryside because "his father wanted Lin to get married soon so that his bride could look after his mother. Out of filial duty, Lin agreed to let his parents find a wife for him." Shuyu dutifully cared for Lin's family and never complained that he lived most of the time away from home in the army hospital. She worked the land, cared for his parents and eventually for his child, but she was "absolutely unpresentable outside his home village," partly due to her bound feet, which he felt made her the laughingstock of the village.
In stark contrast is Manna Wu, who fell for Lin Kong after he cared for her blistered feet during a month-long training exercise designed "to carry on the spirit of the Long March" in a 400 mile march through the countryside. Mannu Wu loved to read foreign literature, watch films and talk with Lin. Although the countryside and city are contrasts in many ways, the gossip and tongue wagging that could ruin reputations and end careers was strikingly similar in both places. Therefore Mannu Wu and Lin Kong remained companions until Lin was granted a divorce from his wife. The reader shares in Lin's indecisiveness. We swing, as he does, in his difficult choice between two women, between the modern and the traditional, between the farmer and the worker. He is a weak character, who has so internalized the rules and regulations that surround him that he can no longer recognize his own will. He wants to do the right thing by both women, but he is forced to choose.
Love is a strong theme in this book. The simple "love triangle" plot is somewhat complicated by the apparent lack of genuine love by any of the characters. Certainly Lin Kong does not love Shuyu, who he only married out of obligation to his parents, and his initial infatuation with Mannu Wu later changed into little more than a weak man's obligation to her, accentuated by the many years she had waited. However, Mannu Wu should have heeded the advice of generations before her about being careful what she wishes for. When her wish was finally granted, and Lin Kong married her, it was not the fairy tale ending the reader was hoping and waiting for. The new couple meets many challenges, and he laments, in the closing chapter, "the long waiting had dissolved her gentle nature, worn away her hopes, ruined her health, poisoned her heart and doomed her." Surprisingly the only sign of genuine love is Shuyu's unfaltering love for her husband. His regular requests for a divorce and the loss of face this causes her does not seem to dim her loyal, true and dependable love.