Scandalous Bodies: Diasporic Literature in English Canada
Scandalous Bodies is an impassioned and learned book about multiculturalism and literature by diasporic writers in English Canada. Kamboureli's exploration of ethnicity ranges from government policy to media representations, from the relationship between realist fiction and historical realities to postmodern renderings of the multicultural, from the philosopher Charles Taylor to the cultural responsibilities of diasporic critics like the author herself. Kamboureli does not come up with neat or comforting solutions to the problems she addresses, and if her study offers any definite answers, these lie in how her method of reading elucidates the fluidity of ethnicity and therefore the need to avoid the pitfalls of political orthodoxies. Her close readings of such classic Canadian novels as F. P. Grove's Settlers of the Marsh and Joy Kogawa's Obasan show that we can best understand the politics of cultural difference if we focus on individual gestures and historical instances, immigration policies and racialization, sexuality and pedagogy, and how we read literature as a product of often conflicting personal and national visions. At the forefront of critical practice today, Scandalous Bodies offers a politically subtle meditation on multiculturalism that will have a lasting impact.
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