Ha Jin does a wonderful job of bringing the awarness 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 commited and loving wife to Nan and hopes that one day he will realize how very, very much she loves him.
Nan is adamant that TaoTao be raised 'America' 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 $30,00 to buy a restaurant to manage and this proved to be difficult times. Nan writes poetry and it is one of these poems that is the essence of this novel.
Wonderfully written but at 696 pages, it took me a couple of days too read. However, this is a novel I would recommend to anyone.
March 24, 2011