Children on the Boat: the recuperative work of postmemory in short fiction of the Vietnamese diaspora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Short fiction of the Vietnamese Diaspora explicitly confronts the event of flight by sea from post-1975 Vietnam by use of the central motif of a child on a boat. French-Canadian Kim Thúy’s novella, Ru (2009), presents a case of safe arrival, while Vietnamese-French writer, Linda Lê, examines the contemporary reality of refugees caught halfway in “Vinh L.” (1992), and in “The Boat” (2008) Vietnamese-Australian author, Nam Le, depicts a child that does not see the other shore. Each writer presents the boat as a shifting place of memory whose cargo, the refugee child, acts as a repository for the collective memories of 1.5 generation writers disconnected from the memory of their leave-taking. The narrative recuperation of the ghostly ancestors of others on what we call the boat narrative facilitates the formation of new communities based on the principal of disruptive kinship, privileging elected over familial affinities in the land of refuge.
LanguageEnglish
Pages218-234
Number of pages17
JournalComparative Literature
Volume70
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Fingerprint

Short Fiction
Boats
Postmemory
Diaspora
Refugees
Writer
Refuge
Ancestors
Kinship
Collective Memory
French Canadian
Viet Nam
Familial
Generation 1.5
Places of Memory
Motifs
Flight
Repository
French Writer
Affinity

Keywords

  • refugee
  • short story
  • Vietnamese diaspora
  • boat narratives
  • recuperation
  • ghost
  • 1.5 generation writers
  • postmemory

Cite this

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Children on the Boat : the recuperative work of postmemory in short fiction of the Vietnamese diaspora. / Kurmann, Alexandra; Do, Tess.

In: Comparative Literature, Vol. 70, No. 2, 06.2018, p. 218-234.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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