Nabokov once said that he didn’t think in either Russi an or English ...
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Live free or stir fry
Ha Jin’s new novel captures the immigrant experience through the eyes of a restaurant owner.
By Drew Toal
THIS AMERICAN LIFE Jins new book is his first set in the U.S.
Vladimir Nabokov once said that he didn’t think in either Russian or English, but rather in images. Chinese-American author Ha Jin seems to conceive his stories in much the same way, and—like Nabokov—prefers to pen words in his second language. He’s best known for his 1999 National Book Award–winning novel Waiting; and his last novel, War Trash—a fictional memoir of life in the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army during the Korean War—won him his second PEN/Faulkner Award. It was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Jin’s latest novel, A Free Life, is his first set in the United States, where the Boston University English professor has lived for more than 20 years.
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Free Life (Pantheon, $26) is out now. Jin reads Mon 5.
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