University of Manitoba political studies professor
"On my night table is a pile of Dr. Seuss books because I have a 21/2-year-old. But under that pile is the novel A Free Life by my favourite author, Ha Jin. He is an extraordinary writer. His style is deceptively simple because he depicts the most ordinary of people who, like all human beings, have complex lives and emotions. A Free Life is about a Chinese immigrant family that cuts its roots to live in America. It's about the sacrifices they make, their regrets and, sometimes, happiness. Ha Jin's books instil a strong connection with the characters; I often think about them long after I turn the last page."