This volume combines literary analysis and theoretical approaches to mobility, diasporic identities and the construction of space to explore the different ways in which the notion of return shapes contemporary ethnic writing such as fiction, ethnography, memoir, and film. Through a wide variety of ethnic experiences ranging from the Transatlantic, Asian American, Latino/a and Caribbean alongside their corresponding forms of displacement - political exile, war trauma, and economic migration - the essays in this collection connect the intimate experience of the returning subject to multiple locations, historical experiences, inter-subjective relations, and cultural interactions. They challenge the idea of the narrative of return as a journey back to the untouched roots and home that the ethnic subject left behind. Their diacritical approach combines, on the one hand, a sensitivity to the context and structural elements of modern diaspora; and on the other, an analysis of the individual psychological processes inherent to the experience of displacement and return such as nostalgia, memory and belonging. In the narratives of return analyzed in this volume, space and identity are never static or easily definable; rather, they are in-process and subject to change as they are always entangled in the historical and inter-subjective relations ensuing from displacement and mobility. This book will interest students and scholars who wish to further explore the role of American literature within current debates on globalization, migration, and ethnicity.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Roots and Routes in American Literature about Return Maria Antònia Oliver-Rotger Part I: Return as Memory Reconstructed 1. Migration, Exclusion, and "Home" in Edwidge Danticat’s Narratives of Return Valerie Kaussen 2. Between Home and Loss: Inscribing Return in Ruth Behar’s An Island Called Home Rocio G. Davis 3. Nightmares from My Parents: Return as Recovery in Doan Hòang’s Oh, Saigon Aitor Ibarrola-Armendariz Part II: Restorative Nostalgias: Return as Emotional Re-Attachment 4. Andrew Lam’s Narratives of Return: From Viet Kieu Nostalgia to Discrepant Cosmopolitanisms Begoña Simal González 5. Returning Home: Iranian-American Women’s Memoirs and Reflective Nostalgia Persis Karim 6. Enacting an Identity by Re-Creating a Home: Eleni Gage’s North of Ithaka Eleftheria Arapoglou 7. El vaivén de la vida: Musings on Deterritorialized Border Subjects Norma E. Cantú Part III: Impossible Returns 8. Cuban Geographies: The Roots/Routes of Ana Menéndez Narratives Ada Ortuzar-Young 9. "The Inextinguishable Longings for Elsewheres": The Impossibility of Return in Junot Díaz Santiago Vaquera-Vásquez 10. Returning to Places of No Return in the Stuart Dybek’s Short Stories Tamas Dobozy
Maria Antònia Oliver-Rotger is Associate Professor of English in the Department of Humanities at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain. She is the author of Battlegrounds and Crossroads: Social and Imaginary Space in Writings by Chicanas (2003).