Ha Jin wrote this little book about emigrant/exiled/expatriate writing called The Writer as Migrant. I don’t know exactly why I bought it. Not that I regret it, but it was an odd choice of a Sunday afternoon book-browsing. I suppose it was the Pico Iyer kick I was coming down from and anything about peregrinations was bound to lure me to spend money. I’m probably lucky I didn’t come home with a $300 book on the mighty albatross.
Anyway, Ha Jin wrote a very lovely set of essays here. Most of the subject matter is writers who’ve left their homes to write elsewhere and in elselanguages. It makes me feel bad that English is my first language (though really, when haven’t I felt bad about that?) and I don’t need to leave home to write in it. I hadn’t realized that Ha Jin wrote in English himself. I’d assumed when I’d seen his books on the shelves that they were translations but no. I suppose I should read one of them some day.essay exile ha jin language pico iyer review the writer as migrant