by Rocio G. Davis
Toronto: TSAR, 2001.
ISBN: 0-920661-96-3 CRITICISM
In the field of Asian American and Asian Canadian literary studies, the use of the short-story cycle demonstrates how a traditional literary form, converted into a transcultural literary phenomenon, can cross geographic, cultural, ethnic, and even linguistic boundaries. The short-story cycle, a collection of stories that are simultaneously independent and interdependent, demonstrates a convergence of old traditions with a renewed concept of nationhood, and of the process of immigration with an understanding of the transcultural position. The dynamics of the short-story cycle make it appropriate for the quest for a definition of the cultural pluralism that incorporates immigrant legacies while adapting to the practices of the culture in which these works are created.
The central concern of this study lies in the exploration of the short-story cycle as a vehicle for the development of Asian American and Asian Canadian literature. Specifically, the book analyzes cycles by writers such as Rohinton Mistry, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Shyam Selvadurai, Amy Tan, Sara Suleri, Garrett Hongo, Toshio Mori, Terry Watada, Sylvia Watanabe, MG Vassanji, and Wayson Choy, among others. The manner in which the diverse writers appropriate the cycle in order to dramatize the act of representation becomes a metaphor for the complexity of ethnic lives and contemporary culture, the articulation of subjectivity and the process towards self-identification.
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