Reader reviews and comments on A Free Life, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Free Life

by Ha Jin

A Free Life by Ha Jin X
A Free Life by Ha Jin
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2007, 624 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2009, 672 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

Page 1 of 1
There are currently 2 reader reviews for A Free Life
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Melinda

Why create? A theme explored in A Free Life
I read the BookBrowse review after I'd just begun the book, and almost put it down, but I'm glad I didn't. This is not a page-turning, fast-moving plot; rather, it's an exploration of several themes by an interesting, introspective character, Nan Wu. Among some of the themes explored are cultural vs. personal identity, self-actualization as the quintessential American Dream, development of individuality vs. sacrifice for family and future generations, and the creative process in a foreign language...as well as the perils of success found by sticking to the familiar. Nan constantly questions his motivations for wanting to be a poet and tries to align the quest for external success with a feeling of personal satisfaction in creative expression of the self. Also of note is the opening up of the poetry publishing industry, its superficiality juxtaposed against its higher purpose. I found the book fascinating, Nan's journey heartening. His personal honesty is quite refreshing and courageous. The book is perhaps one long character development sketch. I loved the poetry journal and poems at the end. Beautiful, simple, softly penetrating.
Power Reviewer
Louise J.

Inspirational
Ha Jin does a wonderful job of bringing the awareness of immigration to the forefront in this novel. Each day, immigrants often have to deal with the process of identity change and racism due to their colour.

Pingping and Nan immigrated to the United States and their six-year-old son, Taotao, arrives later. One sad part of this family is that Nan doesn’t love his wife, Pingping, and instead pines for his old girlfriend. Pingping is aware of this but she remains a committed and loving wife to Nan and hopes one day he will realize how very, very much she loves him.

Nan is adamant that TaoTao be raised ‘American’ and not as a ‘Chinese’ as he believes the Chinese must endure too much suffering.

Pingping and Nan found it extremely difficult in America for the first two years until they’d saved $30,000 to buy a restaurant to manage and these proved to be difficult times. Nan writes poetry and it is one of his poems that is the essence of the entire novel.

Wonderfully written but at 696 pages, it took me a couple of days to read it. However, this is a novel I would recommend to anyone.
  • Page
  • 1

Beyond the Book:
  The Tiananmen Square Protests

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: White Too Long
    White Too Long
    by Robert P. Jones
    Religious scholar Robert P. Jones doesn't pull any punches in his latest book, White Too Long: The ...
  • Book Jacket: Caste
    Caste
    by Isabel Wilkerson
    In 2020, the word "racist" remains taboo. Conceptually, racism is so culturally unacceptable, so ...
  • Book Jacket: The Deepest South of All
    The Deepest South of All
    by Richard Grant
    Author Richard Grant frequently uses his wanderlust to explore diverse stories that create a complex...
  • Book Jacket: Piranesi
    Piranesi
    by Susanna Clarke
    Our First Impressions readers were delighted with this speculative novel by Susanna Clarke, her ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Blind Light
    by Stuart Evers

    A multigenerational story about two families bound together by the tides of history.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline

The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Agent Sonya

Agent Sonya: Moscow's Most Daring Wartime Spy

Master storyteller Ben Macintyre tells the true story behind the Cold War's most intrepid female spy.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I I M B T Give T T R

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.