A novel by Ha Jin, In the Pond is about a maintenance worker who is passed over for a new apartment and the attempts he takes to redress this outrage. It’s a very simply told story and it’s funny. There’s sort of this clash between art and bureaucracy and everyone mistakes everything. The book never really piled on the whole huge amounts of misery that it could have, but you kind of see what an asshole the protagonist is too. It was a quick read and felt a bit more like a short story than a novel. Actually it felt more like a fable, especially with the kid glove treatment of the protagonist. The officials call him crazy but they’re also more scared of him than I would have expected.