chapter  1
13 Pages

Nobody Likes to Wait

The subject of this book – waiting – recalls St. Augustine’s remark that “I know well enough what time is as long as nobody asks me what it is.”1 Waiting is as resistant to description and analysis as time or boredom.2 Although central to the idea of narrative from Homer to Hollywood, waiting is a temporal region hardly mapped and badly documented. As the literary critic Hugh Kenner observed, there had never been a play about waiting before Waiting for Godot. Since then, to my knowledge, only three novels have appeared: Maurice Blanchot’s L’Attente l’oublie (1962), Fumiko Enchi’s The Waiting Years (1980), and Ha Jin’s Waiting (2000).