Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Between Languages and Cultures: Colonial and Postcolonial Readings of Gabrielle Roy

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Between Languages and Cultures: Colonial and Postcolonial Readings of Gabrielle Roy

Article excerpt

Rosemary Chapman, Between Languages and Cultures: Colonial and Postcolonial Readings of Gabrielle Roy (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009), 320 pp. 20 b&w photos. Cased. $95. ISBN 978-0-7735-3496-4.

Just when it seemed that we knew all there was to know about Gabrielle Roy and her work, along comes a refreshing new perspective in the form of Rosemary Chapman's Between Languages and Cultures. Inspired by the ambivalent biculturalism of Roy and its various manifestations in her work, Chapman's text adeptly intertwines theoretical studies of colonialism and postcolonialism with detailed analysis of Roy's fictional and personal writing, in a bid to expose the very complex and hybrid notion of identity that emerges from Roy's oeuvre. Between Languages and Cultures comprises an introduction that takes us back to Roy's childhood and home place, Manitoba, and examines the power struggle between the francophone and anglophone communities that would forever leave its mark on Roy as both a person and a writer. Following on from this are five in-depth chapters whose focus ranges from the impact on Roy of a colonial education system that granted privilege to British heritage to a clear desire to understand the 'other' or the 'outsider' in her writing, perhaps due to her own sense of having been an 'in-between subject', drawn simultaneously towards francophone and anglophone culture, both partly complicit in and partly resistant to processes of assimilation. …

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