A Free Life by Ha Jin
A Novel

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Synopsis

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 Nan, mother Pingping, and son Taotao — as they sever their ties with China in the aftermath of the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square 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 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.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Ha Jin

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Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of the internationally bestselling novel Waiting, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Award, and War Trash, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize; the story collections The Bridegroom, which won the Asian American Literary Award, Under the Red Flag, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Ocean of Words, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award; the novels The Crazed and In the Pond; and three books of poetry. His latest novel, A Free Life is his first novel set in the United States. He lives in the Boston area and is a professor of English at Boston University.War Trash, The Crazed, The Bridegroom, Waiting, In the Pond, and Ocean of Words are available in paperback from Vintage Books.
 
Published October 30, 2007 by Vintage. 674 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Free Life

The New York Times

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Ha Jin’s first novel set in the United States is about a Chinese immigrant who works hard to get ahead.

Nov 25 2007 | Read Full Review of A Free Life: A Novel

BC Books

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When a fellow Chinese immigrant frequently praises Nan for having everything — a beautiful and devoted wife, a son, a home and a business of his own — it doesn't give Nan succor.

Mar 26 2009 | Read Full Review of A Free Life: A Novel

BC Books

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And like life, A Free Life unfolds and reveals itself slowly, consuming some 650 pages in its new trade paper edition.

Mar 26 2009 | Read Full Review of A Free Life: A Novel

Book Reporter

While much of the books 600 pages is devoted to the everyday struggles of this family while pursuing what is, for them, the American dream of home and business ownership and --- more importantly --- no debt, there arrives a climax as Nan forces himself to come to terms with the decisions he has m...

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of A Free Life: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

Late in the novel, Nan indulges in his favorite hobby, refining his ever-evolving philosophy of art: ''He imagined a kind of poetry that could speak directly to the readers' hearts regardless of their cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Oct 26 2007 | Read Full Review of A Free Life: A Novel

USA Today

In A Free Life, Ha Jin's new novel, the Wu family closes the door on post-Tiananmen Square China in search of a free life in the USA.But certain freedoms intellectual, artistic prove elusive.

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San Francisco Chronicle

This photo released by Pantheon Books shows author Ha Jin.(AP Photo/Pantheon Books) Ran on: 11-14-2007 Award-winning author Ha Jin says he wanted his first book that wasn't about China to be a real American novel.

Nov 14 2007 | Read Full Review of A Free Life: A Novel

Deseret News

Ha Jin, winner of a National Book Award, a PEN/Faulkner Award and a Flannery O'Connor Award, has a new novel.

Nov 18 2007 | Read Full Review of A Free Life: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

A Free Life is his first "American" book, a "Chekhovian portrait of life and its soothing dailiness" (Vikram Johri) that explores the meaning of a truly free life.

Dec 03 2007 | Read Full Review of A Free Life: A Novel

Oprah.com

Nan Wu, the main character in Ha Jin's novel A Free Life (Pantheon), is a Chinese immigrant with a wife and son who has made good on the American Dream but who wishes he were a poet instead.

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AARP

Enjoy three fun-filled days of activities — and don't-miss concerts by The Temptations, The Four Tops and Shania Twain.

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Alibi

It is the simple, heartbreaking story of a family’s quest for solid ground—a story that will make you marvel at how much we are expected to infer from that familiar phrase, “The American Dream.” John Freeman is president of the National Book Critics Circle.

Nov 01 2007 | Read Full Review of A Free Life: A Novel

Live Journal

In the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square 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.

Nov 11 2007 | Read Full Review of A Free Life: A Novel

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