Fiction Across Borders: Imagining the Lives of Others in Late-Twentieth-Century Novels
Theorists of Orientalism and postcolonialism often argue that novelists unwittingly betray their own cultural and political anxieties in their ... Show synopsis Theorists of Orientalism and postcolonialism often argue that novelists unwittingly betray their own cultural and political anxieties in their portrayal of "the other." Taking a fresh look at several key contemporary novelists, Shameem Black reveals the ways in which their "border-crossing" fiction offers representations of socially diverse groups without resorting to stereotype, idealization, or other forms of imaginative constraint. Focusing on the work of J. M. Coetzee, Jeffrey Eugenides, Amitav Ghosh, Ruth Ozeki, Charles Johnson, Gish Jen, and Rupa Bajwa, Black proposes a new interpretative lens that identifies an ethics of representing social difference. Black uncovers the ways in which these novelists not only offer sympathetic portrayals of the lives of other, but also detail the processes of imagining social difference. Whether depicting immigration to New York, the exportation of American culture abroad, or racial tension in post-Apartheid South Africa, these transcultural representations explore and challenge social and political hierarchies in constructive ways. Taking on some of the orthodoxies of recent literary criticism, Black's book builds upon such seminal work as Edward Said's "Orientalism" to offer a provocative new study of the late-twentieth-century novel.