samedi 11 décembre 2010

New Book Review!

Martin Munro, Edwidge Danticat: A Reader’s Guide. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 222p.

Martin Munro opens the introduction to this volume with a question: “when you go to a bookstore to look for something by Edwidge Danticat, which section do you go to first?” (1). Would it be Caribbean literature? African American? Ethnic? Women’s literature? The first part of the guide goes about answering those questions in different ways. Michael Dash examines Danticat’s connections to her Haitian precursors. Carine Mardorossian explores how Danticat fits in with other women writers from the Caribbean. She states that "[Danticat] thus deliberately develops a 'poetics of location' in which one's privileging of a particular and 'coherent' cultural space does not hinder Relation but provides the very condition for it. In this process of identification, the opposition between nation and transnationalism dissolves to reveal the inextricable imbrication of the two" (47). To me, this particular view of Relation is essential to understanding a work such as Danticat’s, or any work, for that matter. I remain wary of the idea that writers are beyond categorization. Although we may choose to ignore certain classifications at times, or not let them overshadow the text itself, they are always there, informing our readings. For Munro, "While this in-between situation may be seen as a loss of identity for Danticat (as for many other exiled authors), it is also a kind of liberation in that she is free from many of the constraints and expectations that direct, unambiguous attachments bring" (4). Yet, Munro himself acknowledges that Danticat does not consider herself to be an exile. She can and does go "home" whenever she wants.

Head on over to the book page to read the rest of the review!

1 commentaire:

  1. This is a particularly captivating and interesting analysis.
    As you stated, a content-based review would have been more effectual, but I really didn't mind the political positioning of Danticat's work on the global sphere of literature. It's especially relevant to her role abridging contemporary generations with their origins and similar works.
    Beyond the thorough content analysis, the reviewer's evident knowledge of literary issues showed competence. Fairness did not lack in spite of the critical undertone, a sign of credibility. Both objective and subjective depictions of the Reader's Guide combined to excite the reader's curiosity. Challenging the factual basis of some of the claims made be the authors was a nice touch too.
    I think this process of identification, as it relates to Relation, characterizes the evolution of the "exiled author" reconciled with her inherent regional literary culture or doctrine. I agree this 'poetics of location' is not a deterrence to Relation. In fact, it transcends stereotypical tendencies to facilitate the so-called 'liberation' by broadening authors' horizons. The regional literary culture anchors in contextual understanding, without which, there would be a complete loss of identity. I also agree we should not ignore or deny certain classifications for obvious reasons. I didn't understand what Danticat's 'going home' had to do with her being an exile or not, but some would argue that I was being sarcastic :).
    Thank you for this comprehensive review.