Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

The Writer as Migrant (The Rice University Campbell Lectures) First Edition Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226399881
ISBN-10: 0226399885
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$6.19 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$14.00 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
25 New from $7.59 26 Used from $2.20 1 Collectible from $14.95
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$14.00 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Writer as Migrant (The Rice University Campbell Lectures)
  • +
  • War Trash
Total price: $26.87
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jin, a Boston University professor and award-winning expatriate novelist (A Free Life), presents a brief meditation on writing in the "migrant" tradition ("including "exiles, emigrants, immigrants, and refugees") covering authors like Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Vladimir Nabokov and V. S. Naipaul. Though stiff and self-regarding, Jin has some interesting insight into these writers' process and reception; curiously, Jin considers several cases of writers working in their adopted language rather than their primary language, but doesn't discuss his own decision to work in English instead of Mandarin Chinese. Opinions range from sharp and negligibly inoffensive ("nostalgia is never a collective emotion") to blanket statements that hold little water ("other than slaking the writer's nostalgia, the writer's physical return to his native land has little meaning"). Though he warns up front that "my observations are merely that-my observations," Jin often seems to assert opinion as fact ("writers do not make good generals, and today literature is ineffective at social change"). Though he has some engaging points to make regarding the handful of (exclusively male) writers he considers, Jin's obtuse text is hardly welcoming, limiting its appeal to more serious students of world literature.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Though the issues are weighty, Jin’s prose is straightforward and welcoming. . . . In this poignant and provocative book, Jin takes us on this journey [to our envisioned homelands], revealing paths laid by migrant writers before him and perhaps by those who will follow.”
(Vanessa Hua San Francisco Chronicle)

“Ha Jin is uniquely placed to address the responsibilities and challenges of the displaced writer. Offering both historical context and a strong personal vision of the migrant writer in America today, these essays are thought-provoking, often inspiring, and, above all, unfailingly interesting.”
(Claire Messud)

“Jin’s book is lucid and original. No author of his stature has treated this subject in such an inclusive manner. Highly Recommended.”


“[The Writer As Migrant] demands to be read slowly, and savored. You may find yourself pausing frequently to think about some especially trenchant observation and to reflect on the generosity and intelligence with which [Ha Jin] helps us understand what makes us different from, and similar to, the people with whom we co-exist on our endlessly fascinating, precious, and increasingly populated world.”

(Francine Prose Washington Post Book World)

"Ha Jin questions the author's nostalgia for home and conjures up another dwelling place in the house of literature. . . . These essays offer a thoughtful and thought-provoking defence of the author's right to define his own reasons for writing and to fashion his own home."—Times Higher Education
(Times Higher Education)

"[Jin] writes with admirations and delicacy about writers as diverse as V.S. Naipaul and W.G. Sebald. . . . Unsurprisingly, many of the books most valuable passages concern the craft of writing."
(Francine Prose New York Times Book Review)

"Through this tangle of voluntary and forced migrations, Ha Jin offers the reader a string of glittering insights. For example, that exiles, like Tennyson's Ulysses, can confuse personal longing with collective need; . . . that nostalgia is never more than individual longing; that memory, when manipulated for even the best of reasons, can become a dangerous falsehood.—Alberto Manguel, Spectator
(Alberto Manguel Spectator)

"The Writer as Migrant serves as an excellent primer into the migrant experience, and makes a good read for anyone who has lived 'elsewhere.'"
(Deji Olukotun World Literature Today)

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Series: The Rice University Campbell Lectures
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; First Edition edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226399885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226399881
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,413,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ha Jin is a Chinese emigre who has written in English five well-received novels ("Waiting" won both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award), as well as many short stories and three books of poems. With each of his publications he becomes more conspicuous among the still relatively select group of authors who have distinguished themselves writing in a language other than their native one.

THE WRITER AS MIGRANT is Ha Jin's first published work of non-fiction. It is a collection of three inter-related essays, which apparently made their first appearance as the Campbell Lectures at Rice University. Despite the implication of the title, the essays do not postulate and develop the theme that all writers are migrants (although, I suppose, that is a plausible theme). Rather, the subject of Ha Jin's essays is writers of fiction, like himself, who emigrated from their native country or homeland, and especially those who then wrote in a language other than their native tongue. Among those discussed are Solzhenitsyn, Lin Yutang, V.S. Naipul, W.G. Sebald, Joseph Conrad, Milan Kundera, and Vladimir Nabokov.

The chief flaw of the book is that it is so brief (86 pages of text). A minor one is that the essays are not quite as focused and polished as one might wish. (They probably were fine for oral presentation as lectures.) But Ha Jin proves himself to be an insightful literary critic and his comments on the special problems confronting "migrant" writers like those named above obviously command attention given his shared background. For me, the highlights of the book were his discussions of Conrad and Nabokov and Sebald's novel "The Emigrants." Ha Jin's prose, like that of his novels, is relatively simple and straightforward; it is not, thankfully, academic. THE WRITER AS MIGRANT is neither great or profound, but for those interested in the subject or the authors discussed, it probably will be of some merit.
2 Comments 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very relevant read to add to a literature review for my thesis. His three essays are well constructed and explain much of the impetus driving the migrant's pen. Well recommended for anyone who finds themself writing outside their homeland, whether as exile or immigrant.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Writer as Migrant (The Rice University Campbell Lectures)
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Writer as Migrant (The Rice University Campbell Lectures)