By David Leiwei Li
The author is preoccupied with how the sense of the nation is disseminated through the practice of reading and writing, and he argues that Asian American literature is a productive discursive negotiation of the contemporary contradiction in American citizenship. By analyzing the textual strategies with which literary Asian America is represented, the book shows how the "fictive ethnicity" of the nation continues to exert its regulatory power and suggests how we can work toward a radical American democratic consent.
Through nuanced readings of exemplary texts, the author delineates how Asian American literary production has become a site for the creation of Asian American subjects and community. The texts range from Kingston's enigmatic Tripmaster Monkey to the seductive cunning of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club; from Bharati Mukherjee's romantic Jasmine to the geocultural ambivalence of David Mure's Turning Japanese; and from the transvestic subversion of David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly to the transpirational tropes of David Wong Louie's Pangs of Love.
Imagining the Nation integrates a fine appreciation of the formal features of Asian American literature with the conflict andconvergence among different reading communities and the dilemma of ethnic intellectuals caught in the process of their institutionalization. By articulating Asian American structures of feeling across the nexus of East and Wes
- Stanford, CA