Transnational Literature

Articles

Vol. 11, No. 1, December

Part Two: The Lady Hideko
Once, when still a child, I climbed a tree in the garden in order to see the ground from a different height. That part of the garden where the sky looks black, but is not. It was spring, there had been blossoms, I had been a child. Not long in the great...
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To Issue a Firefly's Glow Wormhole Geographies and Positionality in Mohsin Hamid's the Reluctant Fundamentalist
I understand Hamid's novelistic project as a creative examination of the relationship between the micro movements of individuals and the macro processes of globalisation. While the novel may not provide all the answers, it seems to show its value as...
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Between the Lindens
November 1944Southeastern PennsylvaniaI was born Yoel Meyerowicz in Berlin, Germany, in 1928. My father was a prosperous lawyer. We lived in the Bernauerstrasse, in a nice townhouse. We were Jewish, but that hadn't seemed to matter so much. Nobody bothered...
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All This Is Blurred and Much Bluer Than It Was
and where is the one who says to hellwith this anyway i'm gonna go with the flow(plummets the rapids the ease of its returnan insult to the struggling way it camebut other than that pretty chill) (i'mnot going to dump all that turned upin my body in...
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Syrian Poetry: An Introduction by Ghayath Almadhoun
Modern Syrian poetry begins only in the 1930s. Prior to that, countries in the Middle East, including Syria, did not have the same political borders as today. The existing boundaries are the result of the Sykes-Picot agreement between the French and...
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Dialogical Numbers: Counting Humanimal Pain in J.M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello
'Everything will be counted: not a word, not a movement of the soul, not a half thought will be in vain. '- Fyodor Dostoevsky, 'At Tikhon's'1Counting consciously or unconsciously engenders an ideological claim, and therein lies the difficulty of trying...
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On Pacification the International and Domestic Referents of an Australian Artwork
'... Breakfast Piece is an amalgamation of objects amongst which the artist has situated his wife.'1I began visiting Herbert Badham's 1936 painting Breakfast Piece in the Art Gallery of New South Wales during the 1980s when I lived in Sydney. At that...
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'Including China' in Postcolonial Literary Studies: An Interview with Bill Ashcroft
AbstractBill Ashcroft is a renowned critic and theorist, a founding exponent of postcolonial theory and co-author of The Empire Writes Back (1989), the first text to examine systematically a field that is now referred to as 'postcolonial studies'. He...
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The Girl with the Book
IA new person had appeared in the J. Club: the girl with the book. Akhtar Saleem Malik, an old member of the club, had always had a special interest in new arrivals. Sitting in the Coffee Corner that day, he saw, walking on the lawn, a girl of medium-height,...
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What Matters?: Talking Value in Australian Culture
Julian Meyrick, Robert Phiddian and Tully Barnett, What Matters?: Talking Value in Australian Culture (Monash University Publishing, 2018)What Matters? is a product of the Laboratory Adelaide, a research project that began with the task of finding better...
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A Transnational Approach to 'Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Bayati's 'Umar Khayyam
Modern Arabic literature is by its very nature transnational. Colonial and postcolonial national projects have made transnational movements of forms and themes from one inevitably yet necessarily imagined community1 to another essential to the development...
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Buenos Aires Contemporary
The sturdy painter hikes through the swirlof his grey, Scotland hawkthe stacks build and drill against purpleand pink, horses stop to thinkwho chopped off his ear? andleft it in the other roomwith a small desk by a windowa blanket tucked tight, stripedlike...
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Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche Trilingual Anthology
Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche Trilingual Anthology, edited by Jaime Luis Huenún Villa, Spanish into Mapudungun translation by Víctor Cifuentes Palacios, Spanish into English Translation by Juan Garrido Salgado, Steve Brock and Sergio Holas (Interactive...
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Faber-Castell Classic Colour Pencils
It was exactly twenty minutes before the New Year; approximately fourteen hours before our flight to Russia.Going to a place like Russia was obviously a gift from the universe, as I thought, given only to me while the rest of my family was just tagging...
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How I Became
Her grief fell from the balcony and broke into pieces, so she needed a new grief. When I went with her to the market the prices were unreal, so I advised her to buy a used grief. We found one in excellent condition although it was a bit big. As the vendor...
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The Woman Who Dwelt in the House Before
1When I stare at the white floorI see traces of her small feetit occurs to me to put my left foot on the print of her left footand the right on her rightand so onI see myself in front of the dooropening it, closing itand returning with her melancholy...
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Tell Me the Story
There's so many Bombays I do not know will not know would die to know but could never know even if I time travelled, whiskey marveled, mused unsettled, left untitled, even if I puzzled over, battled with every punctuation pause in every family story...
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Cliffs
Light is throwing its immense featherbetween the church tower and the shop of coffinswhere I stood yesterdayand waited for someone to take me to the mountainsand I didn't see the vehicles with their monotonouspulse that lulled us to sleep for years on...
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Bitter Secrets
Claudine Jacques (1997)1What was most striking about Tomass was the visible size of the knotty muscularity on a compact, stocky body. The hands were thick and short, slightly webbed, the feet huge with spreading toes, chest straight, and head sunken...
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Last Orders
This was her first time away from home. She had been desperate to get away, and it seemed a fantastic opportunity at the time, but now she regretted coming this far north as the station was like a remote island. If she'd got her driver's licence first...
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The Cultural Wealth of Cyprus and the Role of Nature in Seferis's Logbook III
Introduction: The Title of the CollectionLogbook III includes the poems that Seferis wrote for Cyprus when the island was still a British colony. This is a crucial period of Cyprus's modern history, with the first action of the Ethniki Organosis Kyprion...
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Biopolitics and Memory in Postcolonial Literature and Culture
Michael R. Griffiths, Biopolitics and Memory in Postcolonial Literature and Culture (Ashgate Publishing, 2016)Michael Griffiths' aim of dealing with the aftermath of colonial governmentality and the effect of imperial rule on native populations goes...
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Out of Focus
after a New York Times photo-essay, 'The Hunted', Daniel Rodrigues'People with albinism are being attacked-usually with machetes and knives-for the purpose of obtaining their body parts (an arm can fetch as much as US$2,000)' - Ikponwosa Ero, UN Independent...
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Paris to Flamingo
- "So let me confess at the outset to my preference for the real fakery of Las Vegas ..."·framed like this we inch ahead creakingcupboards & selves. you wear sunglasses& i stare deep into the eyes of whipped creamAbercrombie & Fitch &...
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Subramani's Fiji Maa: A Book of a Thousand Readings
(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)Subramani's Fiji Maa: A Book of a Thousand ReadingsYears from now when Fiji Hindi ceases to be a living tongue, when patois English or an Indo-Fijian language supplants it, scholars will look back at...
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Featured Poet: Andy Jackson
Transnational Literature takes great pleasure in featuring Andy Jackson, a poet whose work sits comfortably between the twin poles of confrontation and charm. Andy has appeared at literary and arts festivals across the globe and his poems have been selected...
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Faithfully, I Wait
Jaydeep Sarangi, Faithfully, I Wait (Cyberwit Press, 2017)Faithfully, I Wait is the sixth poetry collection from acclaimed bilingual poet, translator, editor, researcher and educator, Professor Jaydeep Sarangi. Of Sarangi's previous collection, To Whom...
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Poem for Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Ending in a Beginning
Yours is the music of quiet 4am, of solitary afternoons that seem unending. Yours the music of desire, the exhale of the Urdu word for 'need', like the sound of a lung first learning breath. Yours the shape of my father's mouth turning into song. Yours...
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Trench Warfare
Kenwood House:an autumn Wednesday,woods tame and endless, mild grey skywhere I wandered, hopeful, one Novemberin the belted trenchcoat that felt matronly(from a dive in unfamiliar downtown Sydney)but of course wasn't on a twenty-somethingFirst time in...
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Liminality and Otherness: Exploring Transcultural Space in Rita Dove's the Yellow House on the Corner
This paper studies postcolonial responses to prescriptive racial affiliations in contemporary America, especially the responses to the transition of 'race' from a biological to a sociocultural concept, as well as the related rejection of modernist binaries...
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Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine
Steven Salaita, Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine (University of Minnesota Press, 2016)The Map is Not the TerritoryAn outspoken critic of Israel and Zionism, Steven Salaita has always been a controversial figure in the American...
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Dalit Voice: Literature and Revolt
Sharankumar Limbale and Jaydeep Sarangi, Dalit Voice: Literature and Revolt (AuthorsPress, 2018)In 1949, anticipating the pending and hard-won constitution of India, eminent Indian social rights campaigner B.R. Ambedkar soberly prophesised:"On the 26th...
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The Train to Mandalay
Boys swing between carriages on the train to Mandalay,arms and legs thrust out into an uncertain future,their bodies hang suspendedin a mid-air trapezebefore plunging into the connecting carriage.Some carry baskets of soft-boiled eggs, othershave ducks...
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The Concepts of Home and Statelessness in Palestinian Diaspora Fiction: Reflections in Randa Jarrar's A Map of Home
IntroductionThe birth of Israel in 1948 signalled the end of the Jewish diaspora, but it simultaneously marked the beginning of the Palestinian dispersion. This dispersion rendered Palestinians displaced in their homeland and refugees in the other countries...
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The Hunchback in the Park Watching Dylan Thomas
With his heavy brown coat,a solitary threadcaught on the edge of the bench,he drinks from a dark bottlepulled from an inside pocket and sitsthrough the cold afternoon, watching me(as if I wouldn't notice or mind).How the pond takes the sky in,the wonder...
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Africa's Narrative Geographies: Charting the Intersections of Geocriticism and Postcolonial Studies
Dustin Crowley, Africa's Narrative Geographies: Charting the Intersections of Geocriticism and Postcolonial Studies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)Over the past few decades, owing to what has been called the 'spatial turn' in literary and cultural studies,...
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IBS Rides the Internet (A Fictional Memoir)
It has been explained to me that even my title is open to confusion. My intention was to suggest an analogue to a story by my namesake, Isaac Bashevis Singer, which is about a misadventure from the days before cell phones (and the Internet). In 'The...
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Vol. 10, No. 2, May

Irish Poets and Modern Greece: Heaney, Mahon, Cavafy, Seferis
Joanna Kruczkowska, Irish Poets and Modern Greece: Heaney, Mahon, Cavafy, Seferis (Palgrave, 2017)Where all voyages endThere is no way out.1Poets who travel and poems that travel, and lines upon lines in a magnificent intertextual and comparative journey...
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Plane Tree Drive
Lynette Washington, Plane Tree Drive (Midnight Sun Publishing, 2017)Lynette Washington's Plane Tree Drive is a suburban street in the city of Adelaide. It's a long road, lined with cream brick houses and bluestone cottages, flats and housing trust homes,...
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'Trans-Cultural Exchange': Reframing Historical Metanarratives in Ishtiyaq Shukri's the Silent Minaret
IntroductionIn The Silent Minaret, a 2005 novel by South African author Ishtiyaq Shukri, the reader is required to investigate the disappearance of Issa Shamsuddin, a South African PhD student who vanishes mysteriously from London shortly after the 2003...
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The Struggle for Identity and the Need for Documenting History in Junot Díaz's the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
1. IntroductionThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2008) by Junot Díaz includes important ideas about the situations and struggles that Dominican diasporic individuals in the United States experience. Through the description of the lives of a Dominican-American...
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Alternate Take
When they laid our father out, mwaice wandi,I want to say, I'm meant to say, soft lightplayed the skin of his spent face and the sobswere, of course, a jangling kind of song.If I could take you where the sandy earthmeets his final stone, tiled and off-white,we...
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Mystery Dinner
Earlier in the day, the streets of Tokushima had been jammed with cars on their way to, or in avoidance of, the annual marathon. Now, at five o'clock in the evening, there were just a few automobiles and fewer pedestrians. On the way to the entertainment...
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Between the Kindling and the Blaze: Reflections on the Concept of Mana
Ben Brown, Between the Kindling and the Blaze: Reflections on the Concept of Mana, with accompanying CD of selected readings (Anahera Press, 2013).Completed under a Michael King Writers' Centre Maori Writer's Residency (Auckland 2011), Between the Kindling...
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Double Glaze
Steve Brock, Double Glaze (5 Islands Press, 2013)When we think of double glazing, a number of impressions spring to mind: solidity, strength, sensible sound-proofing. A double-glazed window is a barrier between cosy interior and natural, perhaps hostile...
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'Both Feared and Loved, an Enigma to Most' 1: Zimbabwean Spoken Word and Video Poetry between Radicalisation and Disillusionment
The last decade saw an extraordinary increase in technology-based arts in Zimbabwe, especially among young urban artists. Across poetry and music the 'rapid development in electronic digital imaging technology' allowed for new creations that have expanded...
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A Note on the Translation Process
My translators translate my poems as a labour of love. I either choose a poem that I consider 'important' to translate or a poem that extends the variety of poems that have been translated over the course our collaboration or I encourage my translators...
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Almost Home
Hawally, Kuwait. 6 September 1997, 10:00 pmThe lights in the hall flicker before going out. Everything is swallowed whole by the soundless dark. I pull the covers, a net of safety, all the way over my head and squeeze my eyes shut in defence against...
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Space, Transformation and Identity in E.M. Forster's A Passage to India and Ahdaf Soueif's the Map of Love
IntroductionThe ability to possess, command and take control of urban space allows the coloniser to establish control, and consequently, achieve hegemony. Creating an urban identity allows the coloniser to create a social setting that conveys a specific...
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Revisiting History and Reconstructing New Forms of Belonging and Identity in Kamila Shamsie's Salt and Saffron
IntroductionAs a study of Kamila Shamsie's Salt and Saffron (2000), this article will argue that the novel revisits South Asian history while deconstructing the periodisation of South Asian historiography and its narration in terms of the stories of...
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Revisiting India's Partition: New Essays on Memory, Culture, and Politics
Revisiting India's Partition: New Essays on Memory, Culture, and Politics edited by Amritjit Singh, Nalini Iyer, and Rahul K. Gairola (Lexington Books, 2016)Sixty-nine years after partition, this book studies the subject that has haunted the subcontinent...
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Jamaica Osorio's Indigenous Poetics as a Challenge to Global Hybridity
On 27 February 2010 Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio was at university in Stanford, California as a tsunami warning sounded in her hometown of Honolulu. An 8.8 magnitude earthquake had hit Chile and 35 cities on the Pacific coast were on alert. Waiting...
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Explorations in Critical Humanities: A Collection of Essays
Explorations in Critical Humanities: A Collection of Essays edited by Sreenath Muraleedharan K. & Devi K. (Viva Books, 2017)'Humanities,' as a discipline, has always been appreciated by the intellectual society, on the one hand, and has been castigated...
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From SENTENCE
4I hope to get by without knowing what we don'tlove: here is everything not clanging insideour cupped hands: wife with her evening crieschildren red from the sirens, a circle of conclusions toldto quiet down, a few coins to the side of the statisticThe...
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'This Is Me, Anonymous, Water's Soliloquy': The River's Voice as a Coalescence of Humankind and Nature in Alice Oswalds's Dart
The fact that the relation between humankind and nature is becoming increasingly precarious constitutes a predicament of which literature has been aware for quite some time now. In her long poem Dart, for example, the contemporary poet Alice Oswald draws...
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Authorship and Generative Embodiment in Bahi?ai's Songs 1
IntroductionBahinai Caudhari (1880-1951) was an ardent devotee of Vitthal, the god worshipped by Varkaris.2 Her son Sopandev was puzzled when he learnt that she repudiated village kirtans, performances primarily in praise of Vitthal, at the age of sixty....
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Finding a 'German' Voice for Courtney Sina Meredith's Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick
'Translation is always a shift, not between two languages but between two cultures .... A translator must take into account rules that are not strictly linguistic but, broadly speaking, cultural.'1This quotation by Umberto Eco serves as a starting point...
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The Fabulous Feminist: A Suniti Namjoshi Reader
Suniti Namjoshi, The Fabulous Feminist: A Suniti Namjoshi Reader (Spinifex Press, 2012)Suniti Namjoshi's fables are lessons conveyed in poetry and fairy tales. She fills her magical world with all kinds of creatures: blue donkeys and one-eyed monkeys,...
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Cherry Blossom Cycling
It all began when my partner Roland and I were offered contracts teaching English at a university on the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands in the Japanese archipelago. When I examined the map of Shikoku, I noticed that it bore...
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A Poetics of Climate Change: Apocalyptic Rhetoric in Selected Poems from East Africa
Introduction:The written poetry of East Africa is significantly influenced by oral recitations, incantations and songs alongside which the genre thrives. Among other qualities 'deterritorialized from traditional orature,' to use Evan Mwangi's term,1...
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Chichester and the Bhagavad Gita
An excerpt from Foreign Madam and the White Yogi a novel in verseAtlantic crossing by aira touch down at Gatwicka cockney Indian giving directionsa chrome train south to Sussexa mess of bags kids passengersa red brick city going greena journey winding...
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On Translating Rimbaud's 'Villes' / Magic Lantern Slides
These are not so much translations as poems projected onto Rimbaud's 'Villes I' and 'Villes II' to cast light on his interest in imperial panoramas-a now-forgotten technology, in fragments scattered amongst his images-In 1781, William Beckford, 'the...
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Rimbaud's Cities I / Magic Lantern Slides
Its true acropolis, beyond the wildest ambitions of latter-day barbarism- Indescribably bleak, this day it makes- Immoveable clouds, imperial mansions built on lasting snow- With a fetish for the grandiose, they've reproduced catalogues- Every classical...
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Zorra
Just evolving. A heavy heart which time will lighten. The word silence hanging from the trees and the word rose planted in the open ground. Children's ears cleaned by a bath of herbs and fields if you would like to sit. We are not linear. No entry in...
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The Power of Nothing(s): Parahumanity and Erasure in Indra Sinha's Animal's People
Indra Sinha's 2007 novel Animal's People, a fictionalised account of the legacy of the Bhopal industrial disaster (1984), centres on a young man who has been physically altered by a large-scale chemical spill that killed thousands and leftcountless more...
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The Hatred of Literature
William Marx, The Hatred of Literature, translated by Nicholas Elliott (Belknap Press, 2018)Thanks to Nicholas Elliott's fine translating skills, and only three years after its initial publication at Presses de Minuit, The Hatred of Literature (La haine...
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Oral Goes Viral - Reversing the Print Revolution
The last several years have seen an exponentially, indeed explosively, increasing global dissemination of spoken-word poetry in English - a genre which is being simultaneously facilitated and shaped by state-of-the-art electronic media. One case in point,...
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The West-Eastern Divan of Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Review of The West-Eastern Divan of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated from the German by Robert Martin (Wakefield Press 2016)In the West-Eastern Divan of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe (1749-1832) pretends to be a Middle Eastern poet. It is...
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Interview with Kayo Chingonyi, Poet and Creative Facilitator
I first contacted Kayo Chingonyi, because I was interested in his work as a poet. While planning the workshop "Voices from the Margins," I was looking for a writer to perform as a part of the cultural event when I stumbled across his poem "Legerdemain"...
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A Proud Blemish
The year I graduate from size eights,learn to walk in the grown man's shoescontradicting the diminutive frameI parade across the Arndale estate:2step is an airborne sickness, infectingevery discerning cassette deck,after-hours wine bar, joy rider's car.Most...
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33 ½ Fleurs
Ce que la mort fit pour la vie, la vie elle-meme le raconte.Jules Michelet, L 'insecte1.Ceci est un livre d'histoire naturelle, décrivant les formes élémentaires par lesquelles commence la nature (les cristaux, l'insecte, la femme, &c.)un livre sur...
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Translating Trauma in Khaled Hosseini's the Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini, World Literature and the Post-9/11 NovelThe Kite Runner emerged in the post-9/11 period as an example of world literature that challenged the rhetoric legitimising the invasion of Afghanistan. World literature is defined by the Warwick...
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East-West Literary Imagination: Cultural Exchange from Yeats to Morrison
Hakutani, Yoshinobu, East-West Literary Imagination: Cultural Exchange from Yeats to Morrison (University of Missouri Press, 2017).Yoshinobu Hakutani's East-West Literary Imagination: Cultural Exchange from Yeats to Morrison is a theoretical text. It...
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Zorroyère
Juste évolutive. Avec un coeur serré que le temps desserrera. Le mot silence accroché dans les arbres et le mot rose planté en pleine terre. Des oreilles d'enfants nettoyées par un bain d'herbes et de champ si tu veux bien t'asseoir. Nous ne sommes pas...
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Border Crossings
Border Crossings edited by Diana Glenn and Graham Tulloch (Wakefield Press, 2016)Border Crossings, as the name suggests, is a collection of essays that explores crossovers - between past and present, between reality and literature, between silence and...
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Rimbaud's Cities II / Magic Lantern Slides
-themselves are cities- For those who live in them, imcomprehensible mountains-an empire's names-remake themselves in light- Afloat in distance, on its high peaks, steeprooved houses, their dazzling windows, slide sideways now on rails- Its soundless...
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Return Narratives: Ethnic Space in Late-Twentieth-Century Greek American and Italian American Literature
Theodora D. Patrona, Return Narratives: Ethnic Space in Late-Twentieth-Century Greek American and Italian American Literature (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017)Return Narratives: Ethnic Space in Late-Twentieth-Century Greek American and Italian...
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Zorami A Redemption Song
Malsawmi Jacob, Zorami A Redemption Song (Morph Books, 2015)Malsawmi Jacob's novel Zorami: A Redemption Story is quite an engaging work of literary fiction. It is set against the background of the 1960s troubles known as 'ram buai' meaning 'disturbance...
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Frankenstein in Baghdad
Ahmed Saadawi, Frankenstein in Baghdad translated by Jonathan Wright (Penguin, 2018)Baghdad is rocked by war and Iraqis flee the city under the frenetic rampage of American occupation, sectarian violence, and a wilting economy. Hadi, a junk dealer and...
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French Poetry: An Introduction
What choices have led to this selection of texts and voices? Of course, they are not motivated by any attempt at representativeness. This is a subjective cut in the French contemporary poetic matter: voices that, to me, put poetry in movement. The works...
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Identity and Nation in Kazuo Ishiguro's an Artist of the Floating World
IntroductionKazuo Ishiguro was born in Japan and moved to England at the age of five. In his early years of school, he experienced what might be called culture shock, finding himself 'a curiosity in the playground' and adjusting to a new reality.1 The...
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Two Poems
HomeGod, guide the weary poor back homeOh lead our erring thoughts back homeSoul, guest of my rotting flesh, have patienceIn time you'll be free to soar back homeWield a quick yielding touch my shipAnd over the waves be borne back homeFrom the earth's...
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The Courage Season
The days. You try to settle them in diaries, but they can't beHerded, tamed. They're here to counter, perhaps bestEach chess move, your ability to push out from dead corners.Curiosity, action and laughter are contagious as are theirOpposites. At crucial...
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Mumbai in Focus: Two Stories
1. Mental about MumbaiIt was an angry woman, Kitayun Dinshaw, who stepped onto Marine Drive, seeking relief from an issue that had whipped at her mind and made her heart ache with despair. Her city, her beloved Mumbai, was threatened by an underground...
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Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature
Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature edited by Nicholas Birns, Nicole Moore and Sarah Shieff(MLA, 2017)Many collections purporting to discuss teaching strategies end up as sets of standard readings of texts. This one manages to keep a fairly...
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Re-Orienting China: Travel Writing and Cross-Cultural Understanding
Leilei Chen, Re-Orienting China: Travel Writing and Cross-Cultural Understanding (University of Regina Press, 2016)As scholar Leilei Chen writes in her introduction, although research into travel writing has increased greatly since the publication of...
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A Personal History of Vision
A Personal History of Vision by Luke Fischer (UWA Publishing, 2017)Human vision is itself an artifact, shaped by other artifacts, namely pictures, all perception thus being the result of historical changes in representation. An image can, then, signify...
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A Gesture of Reconciliation: Partnership Studies in Australian Literature
Antonella Riem, A Gesture of Reconciliation: Partnership Studies in Australian Literature (Forum, 2017)Studying Australian literature, in particular Patrick White's novels, has been Antonella Riem's concern since at least the 1980s while her interest...
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Listening to the Margins: An Introduction
In September 2016, an international group of young scholars came together at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, to discuss their research projects in the context of the workshop Voices from the Margins: Societal Change and the Environment in...
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Saloon with View
I used to play with my hair when I was young and the constant curling and twirling made it stick up like a cocky's crest. My family joked about it, and my father warned that he would take me for a 'crew-cut' if I continued the practice. His threats didn't...
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The Life to Come
Michelle de Kretser, The Life to Come (Allen & Unwin, 2017)The Life to Come is the product of a ferociously intelligent, formidably ambitious, and prodigiously gifted author. It is the fifth novel by Sri-Lankan born Michelle de Kretser, although...
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From the Edges of Empire: Convict Women from beyond the British Isles
From the Edges of Empire: Convict Women from Beyond the British Isles edited by Lucy Frost and Colette McAlpine (Convict Women's Press, Hobart, 2015)Stories of convicts transported from Britain are familiar to most of us; however, little is known about...
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Across the Seven Seas
Satendra Nandan, Across the Seven Seas (IVY Press International Publishers, 2017)Satendra Nandan's Across the Seven Seas is a thin volume of poems containing nine poems that speak of loss, nostalgia, memory, home, longing, grief, indenture and displacement....
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Star Struck
David McCooey, Star Struck (UWA Publishing, 2016).'Star Struck' is an anthology that can be described as atmospheric. Befitting this theme, the opening poem 'This Voice' (title page), introduces us to McCooey's contemplative, ambient, and visually emergent...
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Vol. 10, No. 1, November

Postcolonial Gateways and Walls: Under Construction
Daria Tunca and Janet Wilson (eds), Postcolonial Gateways and Walls: Under Construction Cross/Cultures 195. (Leiden & Boston: Brill/ Rodopi, 2017).It has been a source of wonder to me how the Netherlands has kept publishing sometimes quite arcane...
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Shawarma, Muhummara and the Osh Guys
I grew up in a multicultural part of Melbourne in the 1970s and 80s, so many of my school friends were non-English speaking migrants - 'New Australians' or 'wogs', as they were sometimes called. The differences in culture and religious practice did not...
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A Family of Aliens
'But they are all divorced!' exclaimed my mother, after I told her that my American boyfriend and I were planning to get married. By 'they' she meant Americans. The rebellious, independent woman in me rolled her eyes; I knew plenty of Americans who weren't...
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Red Peonies: Two Novellas of China
Zhang Yihe, Red Peonies: Two Novellas of China, edited by Frank Stewart; translated by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping (University of Hawai'i Press, 2017)In 1970, 28-year-old Zhang Yihe (b. 1942) was studying literature at the Chinese Opera University...
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The Fiction of Thea Astley
Susan Sheridan, The Fiction of Thea Astley (Cambria Press, 2016)Susan Sheridan's latest book, The Fiction of Thea Astley, is a comprehensive cross-disciplinary analysis of the greater portion of Astley's oeuvre. Interestingly, Sheridan's analysis focuses...
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Transit
Niloofar Fanaiyan, Transit (Recent Works Press, 2017)Transit has never been so pretty as with Niloofar Fanaiyan. In contrast to the volume's cover image, hazed with a red filter suggestive of unwelcome daybreak and circadian arrhythmia, Fainaiyan casts...
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Home, Factory, World: Domestic and Global Fictions in the Work of Lavanya Sankaran
Lavanya Sankaran's two works of fiction, The Red Carpet (2005) and The Hope Factory (2013) occupy a contradictory place in contemporary transnational literature. The Red Carpet, a collection of short stories, was showered with international praise upon...
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Sea Dreams
Bibhu Padhi, Sea Dreams (Authorspress, 2017)India has been the home to great poets and seers, writing in Indian languages including English. And in India we find that creativity is an aroma of a poet's heart. There is the pleasure in the recognition...
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The Homing Bird
Bashabi Fraser, The Homing Bird (Indigo Dreams, 2017)Bashabi Fraser's The Homing Bird is essentially a beautifully-produced booklet containing fourteen poems; for the most part, these explore the poet's relationship with India and Scotland. The title-poem,...
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Equivalences
Nothing=Bluish white light I imagine waiting to be discovered, peeking behind every object, body part, even the skin of ordinary light itself, if I look hard enough or remember to look=Change=Impermanence as afterglow=Everything we feel in relation to...
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Featured Poet: Jill Jones
Transnational Literature is delighted to be featuring the work of renowned poet and academic, Jill Jones. Jones' most recent poetry collections include Brink (Five Islands Press), Breaking the Days (Whitmore Press) which was shortlisted for the 2017...
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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Hamish Hamilton, 2017)A striking thing about Arundhati Roy's writing is her phonological sensitivity. From The God of Small Things: 'He's a filmactor,' she (Baby Kochamma) explains to Margaret Kochamma...
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The Singaporean Poet
Late reply to a writer that asked, "What are our poets like?"Let's begin with an elder who called our colonisers"perfidious albion" and wrote like Yeats to outdo them.The religious poets, both old and young, so fullof pity for everybody else unwilling...
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Incoming Reports
World's longest-ruling political partyEvery school becomes an elite schoolPark connectors merging once-outlying islands across reclaimed land with the mainland and extended into the peninsula to form an unbroken lassoEvery train station married to a...
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The Schooldays of Jesus
J. M. Coetzee, The Schooldays of Jesus (Text Publishing, 2016)'When you travel across the ocean on a boat, all your memories are washed away and you start a completely new life. That is how it is. There is no before. There is no history. The boat docks...
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Genre Fiction of New India: Post-Millennial Receptions of 'Weird' Narratives
E. Dawson Varughese, Genre Fiction of New India: Post-Millennial Receptions of 'Weird' Narratives (Routledge, 2017)In her latest book E. Dawson Varughese takes on the difficult task of categorising and schematising a new genre of Indian fiction. Varughese's...
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Poems of Rolando S. Tinio, Jose F. Lacaba & Rio Alma
Poems of Rolando S. Tinio, Jose F. Lacaba & Rio Alma, translated from the Tagalog and introduced by Robert Nery (Vagabond Press, 2013)The question regarding the worth of poetry in translation is age-old. 'It is normally supposed that something always...
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Of Surface and Depth: Agnes Smedley's Sketches of Chinese Everyday Life
In the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery outside of Beijing, the ashes of American writer Agnes Smedley lie buried under a tombstone that describes her as 'a friend of the Chinese people.' Among the American writers who covered China in the interwar period...
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Rallying
Quinn Eades, Rallying (UWAP, 2017)In the opening poem of Rallying, Quinn Eades quotes the French feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray: 'Call yourself. Give, yourself, names.' then presents us with a fourteen-page poem in which the poet moves swiftly, however...
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The Waiting Room
Leah Kaminsky, The Waiting Room (Vintage Australia, 2015)Haifa, Israel, May 2001, and a heavily pregnant woman, a doctor, is at the site of a bomb blast, picking her way carefully through the dead, perhaps looking for her husband who is not answering...
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A Companion to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A Companion to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, edited by Ernest N. Emenyonu (Boydell & Brewer, 2017)For a writer not yet in her forties, the publication of a Companion to her work might be considered as a canonising effort, driven both by the quality of...
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Multicultural and Marginalized Voices of Postcolonial Literature
Multicultural and Marginalized Voices of Postcolonial Literature edited by Varun Gulati and Garima Dalal (Lexington Books, 2017).Multiculturalism is an unruly theoretical beast with deep cultural entanglements that can, at times, be put to contradictory...
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Flute of Milk
Susan Fealy, Flute of Milk (UWA Publishing, 2017)Susan Fealy's poetry volume imparts intricate, visual, moody and surreal subtleties, with the alacrity and refinement of a true philologist. The narratives reconfigure the subject matter, making salient...
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Depoeticized Rhapsody
Sarwar Morshed, DepoeticizedRhapsody (Academic Press and Publishers Library, 2016)Sarwar Morsheds (un)poetic universe ranges from some Mediterranean Turkish sea beach to the Bangladeshi river-bed of Naf and in between lies the drowned body of a poem....
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Absent Beloved
'I know what you're thinking right now. What wouldn't have been possible in the world if only you were mine? But you're wrong to think so. I'm nothing if I'm not yours. Every speck of my soul and body belongs to you.''Please! It would be better if things...
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Notes on the Flesh
Shahd Alshammari, Notes on the Flesh (Faraxa Publishing, 2017)Gone are the days of triumph narratives where chronology moves from good health to a catastrophic loss of health, and ends, finally, with an enviable level of acceptance - thank goodness....
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Alternative Modernities in French Travel Writing: Engaging Urban Space in London and New York, 1851–1986
Gillian Jein, Alternative Modernities in French Travel Writing: Engaging Urban Space in London and New York, 1851-1986 (Anthem Press, 2016)The experience of travelling to a city may not be just a matter of crossing geographical boundaries, it can become...
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Surviving the Gulag
Ilse Johansen, Surviving the Gulag (University of Alberta Press, 2017)At the beginning of WWII, Romania fought alongside Germany against the Allied forces. However, in August 1944, following a coup d'état, Romania changed sides. It is during this messy...
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Datsunland
Stephen Orr, Datsunland (Wakefield Press, 2017)Stephen Orr is an Adelaide-based writer and teacher with several books to his name. Two of his works, Time 's Long Ruin (2010) and The Hands (2015), were longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary award....
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Underground Fugue
Margot Singer, Underground Fugue (Melville House, 2017)Can a novel be a fugue? This is the question US writer Margot Singer asks herself, implicitly in her first novel, Underground Fugue, and explicitly in a Paris Review article. 'Could I write a novel...
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Jane Austen's Names: Riddles, Persons, Places
Any serious reader of Austen will agree with Margaret Doody's starting point that 'Names of places and persons in Austen's novels are chosen with equal care' (4). This alone justifies a book devoted entirely to Austen's names. However, having accepted...
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Snow
Mrs Telfer was German and taught grade six. She was firm: 'You will not be late ... you will sit quietly ... you will finish your work but she never hit anyone. By then she must have been in Australia long enough to be used to the weather, but some summer...
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Singaporean Poetry: An Introduction
For all its urban gloss and ostensible multiculturalism, Singapore has not only managed to preserve much of its fundamental draconic conservatism - this aspect of our society seems to be harmonising quite nicely with a general hue of political conservatism...
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Three Poems by Nader Naderpour, a Poet of the Sun
Nader Naderpour (1929-2000) is a mastermind bridging classical and modern Persian poetry. His power of description is so strong that in modern Persian poetry he stands unrivalled. The sun is the most frequent image in his poetry. With the exception of...
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Thinking with Literature: Towards a Cognitive Criticism
Terence Cave, Thinking with Literature: Towards a Cognitive Criticism (Oxford University Press, 2016)Of late, Professor Terence Cave has shown a growing interest in Cognitive Literary Studies: he co-edited with Karin Kukkonen, and Olivia Smith Reading...
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The Beloved in Nader Naderpour's Poetry
Nader Naderpour (1929-2000), an Iranian poet who spent the last years of his life in the United States and died there, is not well known in the English-speaking world. He is a poet whose sensitivities are unforgettable for many Persian readers. His main...
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Pataphysical Discourse and Georgian Reflections in Comparative Analysis of Georgian and French Avant-Garde
(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)IntroductionAlfred Jarry (1873-1907), French symbolist writer and precursor of the Theatre of the Absurd of France, author of a scandalous play, Ubu Roi, invented Pataphysics1 during the period of French...
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Crossing the Danube
Sarah met Yasin at a conference in Tel Aviv. It was one in a year-long series of events that brought together scholars in their field from around the world. Most of the attendees were natives from Uzbekistan, in southern Russia. Yasin was part of a delegation...
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Nzuri Na Mengi ('Good and Plenty'): The Caine Prize for African Literature, 2007-2017
Introduction'Nzuri Na Mengt is the sequel to an essay I wrote in 2007 about the first seven winners of The Caine Prize for African Writing, a prestigious annual award for short fiction.1 Over the ensuing decade, much has happened to Africa, to my own...
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Post-Multicultural Writers as Neo-Cosmopolitan Mediators
Sneja Gunew, Post-Multicultural Writers as Neo-Cosmopolitan Mediators (Anthem Press, 2017)The cosmopolitan desire to transcend national borders and to create a global community remains akin to state policies of multiculturalism which former settler colonies...
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Faithfully, I Wait: Poems on Rain, Thunder and Lightning at Jhargram and Beyond
Jaydeep Sarangi, Faithfully, I Wait: Poems on Rain, Thunder and Lightning at Jhargram and Beyond (Cyberwit, 2017)Speech delivered at Launch, Flinders University, 20 October 2017Jaydeep Sarangi is a poet for all seasons, and his poems are the changeable...
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A Chance Meeting
Translated by Md. Rezaul HaqueA chance meeting in a railway compartment,I hadn't thought would ever be possible.In the past I had often seen herin a red-coloured sari -as red as the pomegranate flower;that day she had put on a black silk dress,covering...
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Drain Circling, A While Ago
For John Taylor Funeral Service, Leamington Spa1John Taylor: tell me you caught a glimpseof that streak across the skyor perhaps I am delusional, John Taylor;perhaps I am simply seeing thingsbut John Taylor, reassure methat although the dead are right...
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Jane Austen's Names: Riddles, Persons, Places
Margaret Doody, Jane Austen's Names: Riddles, Persons, Places (University of Chicago Press, 2015)Any serious reader of Austen will agree with Margaret Doody's starting point that 'Names of places and persons in Austen's novels are chosen with equal care'...
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Gender, Madness and Colonial Paranoia in Australian Literature: Australian Psychoses
Laura Deane, Gender, Madness and Colonial Paranoia in Australian Literature: Australian Psychoses (Lexington Books, 2017)Gender and madness appear in the question that opens this book: 'What is a madwoman?' (ix). The answer is provided through the lens...
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The Travel Writings of Marguerite Blessington: The Most Gorgeous Lady on the Tour
Aneta Lipska, The Travel Writings of Marguerite Blessington: The Most Gorgeous Lady on the Tour (Anthem Press, 2017)The genre of travel writing is one that has historically been difficult to pin down or define. Its diversity makes it resistant to simple...
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Finding Mathilde
I had almost given up trying to find her. Mathilde, a woman I was only just beginning to know. I'd hunted for days, seeking footprints between gold-leafed vines, in tumbling village alleyways, even in the dark and trembling forest. I'd catch a whiff...
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The Woman Priest: A Translation of Sylvain Maréchal's Novella
Sheila Delany, The Woman Priest: A Translation of Sylvain Maréchals Novella, La femme abbé (The University of Alberta Press, 2016)'What is love?' asks Agatha, the heroine of French writer Sylvain Maréchals fascinating novella, La femme abbé (1801). Love...
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Exit West
Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (Hamish Hamilton, 2017)Mohsin Hamid's most recent novel, Exit West (2017), focuses on the concept of belonging in relation to place and space in a politically unstable global landscape. Replacing the second person address - or...
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Intersecting Memory and Witnessing Violence in Anita Desai's the Zigzag Way
Hannah Arendt's assertion in On Violence that the twentieth century was 'a century of wars and revolutions, hence a century of violence which is currently believed to be their common denominator,'1 seems relevant when one counts those innumerable people...
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Dumping Grounds: Donald Trump, Edward Abbey and the Immigrant as Pollution
Announcing his bid for the US presidency, Donald Trump caused outrage by claiming that undocumented migration from Mexico to the US showed that America had 'become a dumping ground for everyone else's problems'. Trump began his typically bombastic speech...
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Australian Literature in the German Democratic Republic: Reading through the Iron Curtain
Australian Literature in the German Democratic Republic: Reading through the Iron Curtain edited by Nicole Moore and Christina Spittel (Anthem Press, 2016)Emine Sevgi Özdamer's protagonist in the tale Career of Char: Memories of Germany is 'a witness...
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Evoking a Displaced Homeland: The 'Poetic Memoir' of Andrzej Chciuk
Translingual writers from Ha Jin to Jhumpa Lahiri are increasingly at the forefront of contemporary literature in English, but writers in Anglophone countries working in languages other than English have tended to remain obscure, as Sonia Mycak1 and...
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Troubled Testimonies: Terrorism and the English Novel in India
Under Terrorising Eyes: The Indian Novel in English Meenakshi Bharat, Troubled Testimonies: Terrorism and the English Novel in India (Routledge, 2016; First South Asia Edition 2016)What kind of world do we live in? The question you've just confronted...
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Vol. 9, No. 2, May

Hungarian Rhapsody
Lily placed the passport-wallet and phone flat on the girl's hennaed palm. Rhea clutched them against her chest, then tugged down the embroidered blouse that she'd bought that morning and hauled on straight over her dreads. She looked about sixteen....
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The Cleanskin
Laura Bloom, The Cleanskin (The Author People, 2016)How irresistible to review a novel that shares an almost identical title with your own: Cleanskin (2006), but in any case, Laura Bloom's very accomplished third novel The Cleanskin differs from mine...
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Island Home: A Landscape Memoir
Tim Winton, Island Home: A Landscape Memoir (Hamish Hamilton, 2015)Tim Winton spent his childhood in suburbia and on Australia's west coast as described in his autobiography Land's Edge (1993). He wrote his way to become the darling of Australian readers...
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Twenty-Two New Asian Short Stories
Mohammad A. Quayum, ed. Twenty-two New Asian Short Stories (Kuala Lumpur: Silverfish Books, 2016)When asked in 1898 about the most significant political fact in modern history, the German statesman Otto von Bismarck reportedly said: The fact that North...
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The Beachcomber’s Wife
The Beachcomber's Wife by Adrian Mitchell (Wakefield Press 2017)Nature writing sometimes seems to be an occupation exclusively for the solitary man. Perhaps it is an expression of a mythic frontier experience - a rugged individual proving themselves...
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Quicksilver
Nicolas Rothwell, Quicksilver (Text Publishing, 2016)The cover of Nicolas Rothwell's new book suggests that reflection is at least partly what he is referring to with this title, and reflection that is broken into uncountable shards of mirror glass,...
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Gularabulu: Stories from the West Kimberley
Paddy Roe, Gularabulu: Stories from the West Kimberley (UWA Publishing, 2016)In the introduction to Gularabulu: Stories from the West Kimberley, Stephen Muecke writes,Presenting the stories as narrative art is a way of justifying a writing which tries...
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Strung
'My weapon was my cello' Vedran Smajlovic (1956 -) during the Siege of Sarajevo (1992-1996)Neck & belly, ribs, waist & tailpiece,the cello's body is a swoon in timber.The bridge transporting, the spike stabilising.How varied the ends these shapes...
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Saffron and Silk
Saffron and Silk by Anne Benjamin (David Lovell Publishing, 2016)How does one go about the impossible task of capturing on paper the essence of living in India? How does one answer the question: how do you like India? A difficult question for most westerners...
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The Displaced Female Voice: Poetry of Natalya Gorbanevskaya
IntroductionWords will not become heavens,as wood is not to be made of grass.1Natalya Gorbanevskaya was displaced from her home when she was sent to a Soviet psychiatric hospital for dissident activities in 1969 (Gorbanevskaya xiii). During this period,...
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Wild Gestures
Lucy Durneen, Wild Gestures (MidnightSun Publishing, 2016)At her Adelaide launch, English academic Lucy Durneen suggested that the sixteen stories in her debut collection embody Freud's theoretical drives, death and sex. It is true that the stories are...
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The Poetic Eye/Patterns of Being/Meanwhile, the Oak
Michael Sharkey, The Poetic Eye (Brill, 2016)Heather Sladdin, Patterns of Being (Heather Sladdin, 2016)Heather Taylor Johnson, Meanwhile, the Oak (Five Island Press)Michael Sharkey has long been known as one of Australia's most congenial, collegial,...
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The Offhand Angel: New and Selected Poems/Selected Poems from Les Fleurs Du Mal
Jan Owen, The Offhand Angel: New and Selected Poems (Eyewear Publishing, 2015)Charles Baudelaire, Selected Poems from Les Fleurs du Mal translated by Jan Owen and introduced by Rosemary Lloyd (Arc Publications, 2015)As an undergraduate in the 1980s,...
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Exhibits of the Sun
Stephen Edgar, Exhibits of the Sun (Black Pepper Publishing, 2014)Meditations on being and knowing habituate the text, whose speakers struggle to come to terms with their limitations: What can't I know? What can't I be? Stephen Edgar draws on a rich...
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Letter to Pessoa and Other Short Fictions
Michelle Cahill, Letter to Pessoa and Other Short Fictions (Giramondo, 2016).Having signed at least three well-received books of poetry into the world, Michelle Cahill, established poet, sometime essayist, medical practitioner, and founding editor of...
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Dancing in the Mirror: Performing Postcoloniality in Paulina Chizine’s Niketche: Uma História De Poligamia
Paulina Chiziane's Niketche: Uma História de Poligamia [Niketche: A Tale of Polygamy] portrays the lives of women who reinvent cultural traditions as they fight for the inclusion of their voices in nation building.1 In the novel, women reveal their bodies,...
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Vol. 7, No. 2, May

Experimental Fiction: An Introduction for Readers and Writers
Julie Armstrong, Experimental Fiction: An Introduction for Readers and Writers (Bloomsbury, 2014)'Some writers do set out to be experimental for a variety of reasons' (193), and Julie Armstrong's Experimental Fiction is one such experiment in writing...
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