A Free Life review ò 3


  • Paperback
  • 672
  • A Free Life
  • Ha Jin
  • English
  • 06 November 2019
  • 9780307278609

10 thoughts on “A Free Life

  1. says:

    Ha Jin's Waiting with its precise writing its absence of adjectives and the cool objective yet somehow deeply emotional stance was like no style I had ever read before I am not a fan of the florid whether paintings poetry or books yet minimalism of the written word always seems to me to me to be a self conscious

  2. says:

    The most thorough treatment of the Asian immigrant experience you're ever likely to find All of the most intricate details

  3. says:

    A Chinese immigrant moves to Boston and becomes disenchanted with his political science studies so he drops out of university and struggles to take care of his family doing a series of low paying somewhat demoralizing exhaus

  4. says:

    dude i'm not even a fifth of the way through and i've heard that1 it's very hard for a chinese immigrant in the post tiananmen era of forced migration of chinese students to get a job let alone a decent job 2 the

  5. says:

    I had the privilege of meeting Ha Jin when he visited Kalamazoo College some years ago when I still worked there in media relations and so when his name came up again this time as an author to read in a new bookclub I have joined at

  6. says:

    I was intrigued by the first cha

  7. says:

    If you want to singsing clearlyLet grief embolden your songRecent days have been passing uiet cheerful with this novel by Ha Jin Although i have finished it i know its melancholic atmosphere will linger on in my mind for some time It seems to me that Ha Jin is a great novelist with his brilliantly detailed uite

  8. says:

    Ha Jin's success in the United States has been an extraordinary rebuttal to Yeats's claim that no man can think or write with music and vigor except in his mother tongue An immigrant from China who survived the Cultural Revolution and almost six years in the People's Liberation Army Jin had been writing in English less than a decade when he won a PENHemingway Award in 1996 for his first story collection Ocean

  9. says:

    The first of Ha Jin’s writing to be primarily set in the United States A Free Life is a meandering yet nevertheless beautifully written novel expounding upon and nuancing the prototypical Asian American immigrant narrative In the aftermath of the Tiananmen Suare Massacre the Wu family comprised of Nan Wu the father Pinging Wu the mother and Taotao the son must forge a new life in the United States After Nan drops out

  10. says:

    I'm a little disappointed thus far but I'm only about 100 pages into it People gush about this author but I find that his English prose isn't as engaging as I expected it to be The concepts are interestingbut I'm not digging the writingHaving finally finished 600 pages of driftiness There is no plot just the internal musings of a man trying to find himself Sometimes though in mid chapter the point of view changes to other chara

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Ha Jin À 3 summary

A Free Life

Life and to hold his family together even as he pines for a woman he loved and lost in his youth Ha Jin's prodigious talents are in full force as he brilliantly brings to life the struggles and successes of the contemporary immigrant experience.. Ha Jin s success in the United States has been an extraordinary rebuttal to Yeats s claim that no man can think or write with music and vigor except in his mother tongue An immigrant from China who survived the Cultural Revolution and almost six years in the People s Liberation Army Jin had been writing in English less than a decade when he won a PENHemingway Award in 1996 for his first story collection Ocean of Words The next year his second collection Under the Red Flag won the Flannery O Connor Award Waiting took a National Book Award in 1999 and War Trash was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 And yet despite this pile of literary laurels and a professorship at Boston University Jin still seems troubled by Yeats s dictumHis enormous new novel A Free Life his first to be set in the United States is the most autobiographical of his works It tells an archetypal tale of immigrant struggle and success but its real focus is the author s battle to break into the language and the literary culture of his adopted country The story begins in Boston soon after the Tiananmen Suare massacre in 1989 Nan Wu is a political science student at Brandeis with a beautiful wife he does not love and a 6 year old son The changed political climate makes it impossible for Nan to go home and it seems senseless now to finish his PhD He had no idea what he was going to do the narrator writes Such an independent condition was new to him Now he would have to earn a living by himself and also support his family He was free free to choose his own way and to make something of himself But what were the choices available to him Could he survive in this land The feeling of uncertainty overwhelmed himThe problem of freedom has been central to all Jin s previous works but how fascinatingly different that problem looks in a free country Liberty raises the specter of failure poverty and uselessness in a way unimaginable to Nan back in China where he was provided a salary shelter usually a bed or at most a room coupons for cloth and grain and cooking oil medical care and sometimes even free condoms Now he and his wife are given asylum but nothing else I feel like a crippled man here he thinksHis fellow students switch to marketable degrees in business and law but Nan wants to write poetry even though he knows there s no audience for Chinese poetry in America and no possibility of having his work published back home Despondent about his career and still pining for a girlfriend who cast him off years before he takes a series of low paying jobs and presses on through a fog of depression and shame Eventually he and his wife Pingping manage to scrape together enough money to buy a small Chinese restaurant in Atlanta where they build a successful business buy a house and attain the trappings of the American dreamThat dream is complicated though by the persistence of Nan s desire to write poetry in English a desire Jin draws with aching sympathy He knew that in this land the language was like a body of water in which he had to learn how to swim and breathe even though he d feel out of his element whenever he used it If he didn t try hard to adapt himself developing new lungs and gills for this alien water his life would be confined and atrophied and eventually wither awayOver the years even when working in menial jobs Nan remains within the Chinese literary community which introduces him to a broader circle of successful writers Throughout the novel Jin uses these encounters to present an odd series of cautionary tales about how not to live as an artist Most of the names here are fictional and maybe the writers he punctures are too vain to recognize themselves but even in Nan s humble voice there s no mistaking Jin s disdain the pompous literary lion fawned over by a parasitic graduate student a writer who manipulates his reputation by recycling positive reviews of his work through different journals another who dissipates his talent with overexposure all of them falling prey to moneygrubbing instead of aspiring to a higher order of artistic achievement A brief trip to the Iowa Writers Workshop gives Nan a chance to look down on the next crop of American poets They re smart enough but he finds them uite fragile writing mainly for themselves Poetry had become an esoteric art here somewhat deprived of its vitality and earnestnessAnd earnestness Jin makes clear over these 600 irony free pages is pretty much the pinnacle of his artistic expression In War Trash Jin s restrained unadorned voice rendered the horrors of a Korean prison camp all the harrowing but when used at this exhaustive length to describe the details of suburban Georgia the story grows dull And the structure of the novel scores of short chapters each just a few pages long puts enormous emphasis on episodes that are freuently not very significant That s a shame not only because it buries some truly lovely sections involving Nan s wife but also because the novel s corpulence smothers the poetic sensibility Nan keeps trying to developThe plot s lack of momentum is exacerbated by the number of potentially exciting events that rise up but come to naught It s a pattern established right in the novel s opening when Nan s son is lost during the trans Pacific flight to America Don t worry The boy was just dawdling on the plane Soon afterward Nan plots to kidnap the children of Chinese officials studying in America but he uickly abandons that violent plan Later a lawyer swindles them out of their business but no Nan was just being paranoid A tornado approaches and then blows over A runaway teenager shows up on their doorstep but then goes home to her mother An armed man bursts into the restaurant but police arrive before he does any harm A neighbor asks Nan s wife to be a surrogate mother but she decides not to By the time their friends daughter gets leukemia I had no worries about the girl s future at all This isn t so much a free life as a charmed oneAnd yet throughout we have to endure Nan s childish outbursts his melodramatic self denunciations his obvious tardy epiphanies Besides dreams what else can I have he whines toward the end How about a devoted wife a successful business a healthy sonBut push on or skip to the end You ll find an epilogue that contains 25 moving startling Poems by Nan Wu These verses roughly chronicle the events in the novel but they vibrate with the precision and intensity the long preceding narrative lacksI prefer to crawl around at my own pacein the salt water of EnglishAs for the great ghosts in the templewhy should I bother about their acceptanceThe light of dawn does not discriminateA tree or butterfly or streamunlike the dog corrupted by humansdoes not notice the color of your skinTo write in this language is to be aloneto live on the margin whereloneliness ripens into solitudeThere s no uestion that Jin s language has ripened into something extraordinary And taken as a whole A Free Life is a striking demonstration of the poetic success he craved But how many readers will endure till its convincing finish

download Ï eBook or Kindle ePUB À Ha Jin

A New York Times Notable Book One of the Best Books of the Year Chicago Tribune Chicago Sun Times Entertainment Weekly Slate In A Free Life Ha Jin follows the Wu family father A Free PDF or Nan mother Pingping and son Taotao as they sever th. A Chinese immigrant moves to Boston and becomes disenchanted with his political science studies so he drops out of university and struggles to take care of his family doing a series of low paying somewhat demoralizing exhausting jobs What he really wants to do is write poetry He can t seem to forget his ex girlfriend even though he s married to someone else someone wonderful and has a child with her As the years pass in slow but beautifully written simple detail he learns to cook in NYC and eventually moves down south to Atlanta where he buys a restaurant and a house He s able to pay off his mortgage and live the American Dream with his wife and son but he doesn t see it that way he s convinced that he is a failureThis book is for anyone who s ever tried to be an artist It redefined the term for me Despite consisting of low key events and day to day details no huge action I was riveted by this book and cared deeply about the characters It s uite sad at times but has an uplifting and satisfying ending Burning Attraction really wants to do is write poetry He can t seem to forget his ex girlfriend even though he s married to someone else someone wonderful and has a child with her As the years pass in slow but beautifully written simple detail he learns to cook in NYC and eventually moves down south to Atlanta where he buys a The Numbers Game restaurant and a house He s able to pay off his mortgage and live the American Dream with his wife and son but he doesn t see it that way he s convinced that he is a failureThis book is for anyone who s ever tried to be an artist It Tall man riding. redefined the term for me Despite consisting of low key events and day to day details no huge action I was The 7 Components of Transformative Organizing Theory riveted by this book and cared deeply about the characters It s uite sad at times but has an uplifting and satisfying ending

review A Free Life

Eir ties with China in the aftermath of the massacre at Tiananmen Suare and begin a new life in the United States As Nan takes on a number of menial jobs eventually operating a restaurant with Pingping he struggles to adapt to the American way of. dude i m not even a fifth of the way through and i ve heard that1 it s very hard for a chinese immigrant in the post tiananmen era of forced migration of chinese students to get a job let alone a decent job 2 the protagonist is unhappy 3 he doesn t reciprocate his wife s big love for him but is somehow bound to her for the sake of his childtwo hundred fifty three timesyeah no


About the Author: Ha Jin

Ha Jin is the pen name of Jin Xuefei a novelist poet short story writer and Professor of English at Boston UniversityHa Jin writes in English about China a political decision post Tiananmen A Free PDF or Suare.