A Free Life

A Free Life

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
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Random House, Inc.
From Ha Jin, the widely-acclaimed, award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash, comes a novel that takes his fiction to a new setting: 1990s America. We follow the Wu family--father Nan, mother Pingping, and son Taotao--as they fully sever their ties with China in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and begin a new, free life in the United States.

At first, their future seems well-assured--Nan’s graduate work in political science at Brandeis University would guarantee him a teaching position in China--but after the fallout from Tiananmen, Nan’s disillusionment turns him towards his first love, poetry. Leaving his studies, he takes on a variety of menial jobs while Pingping works for a wealthy widow as a cook and housekeeper. As Nan struggles to adapt to a new language and culture, his love of poetry and literature sustains him through difficult, lean years.

Ha Jin creates a moving, realistic, but always hopeful narrative as Nan moves from Boston to New York to Atlanta, ever in search of financial stability and success, even in a culture that sometimes feels oppressive and hostile. As Pingping and Taotao slowly adjust to American life, Nan still feels a strange, paradoxical attachment to his homeland, though he violently disagrees with Communist policy. And severing all ties--including his love for a woman who rejected him in his youth--proves to be more difficult than he could have ever imagined.

Ha Jin’s prodigious talents are evident in this powerful new book, which brilliantly brings to life the struggles and successes that characterize the contemporary immigrant experience. With its lyrical prose and confident grace, A Free Life is a luminous addition to the works of one of the preeminent writers in America today.

Baker & Taylor
In the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Nan Wu, who had studied in the U.S. in the mid-1980s, leaves China with his wife and son to seek the freedom of the West, embarking on a migration that takes them through the heart of contemporary America.

Blackwell North Amer
We follow the Wu family - father Nan, mother Pingping, and son Taotao - as they fully sever their ties with China in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and begin a new, free life in the United States.
At first, their future seems assured - Nan's graduate work in political science at Brandeis University would guarantee him a teaching position in China - but after the fallout from Tiananmen, Nan's disillusionment turns him toward his first love, poetry. Leaving his studies, he takes on a variety of menial jobs while Pingping works for a wealthy widow as a cook and housekeeper. As Nan struggles to adapt to a new language and culture, his love of poetry and literature sustains him through difficult, lean years.
Nan moves from Boston to New York to Atlanta, ever in search of financial stability and success, even in a culture that sometimes feels oppressive and hostile. As Pingping and Taotao slowly adjust to American life, Nan still feels a strange, paradoxical attachment to his homeland, though he violently disagrees with Communist policy. And severing all ties - including his love for a woman who rejected him in his youth - proves to be more difficult than he could ever have imagined.

Baker
& Taylor

In the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Nan Wu, who had studied political science in the U.S. in the mid-1980s, leaves China with his wife, Pingping, and son, Taotao, to seek the freedom of the West, embarking on a migration that takes them through the heart of contemporary America in search of financial stability, belonging, and the American dream. 75,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, 2007
ISBN: 9780375424656
9780307278609
0375424652
Characteristics: 660 p. ; 24 cm

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d
doroschelch
Aug 24, 2012

The tribulations of a Chinese immigrant family in the US, particularly the man's struggle with having to provide for the family and his aspirations to poetry - which failed to engage me on the personal level: I just could not muster up a lot of empathy for him or any of the other characters...

l
lpreston214
Jul 06, 2012

An outstanding story of Chinese immigrants "living the American dream" in Boston and then Georgia. Terrific, complex characters stuggle with their relationships with their new and old countries and with each other. The story focuses on Nan, the husband and father. Once a student directed by China to study Political Science he drops out and opts to stay in America after Tiananmen. He learns to be a chef and later opens his own restaurant in Georgia with wife PingPing. What he really wants to do is write poetry. He struggles to do so, seeking strong emotion which he hopes will inspire him. Eventually he learns, as most of us do, that ideals of passion and love and a worry-free life may not be attainable and that inspiration can be found close at hand with our loved ones and that few people reach the ideal of the American dream. The glory is in the striving.

f
flammy_icy_girl
Dec 26, 2011

Thanks that's very encouraging o.o
672 pages... well i'm used to long novels... but yeah i will read it :O

s
sam
May 22, 2008

An "immigrant experience story" through a poet's vision. Don't let the 672 pages intimidate you...

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