Banana Bending

Asian-Australian and Asian-Canadian Literatures


Tseen-ling Khoo

ISBN : 978-962-209-630-1

Literary Studies

June 2003

232 pages, 6″ x 9″

Not for sale in the USA or Canada

  • HK$275.00

This is the first book ever to present a comparative reading of East Asian-Australian and East Asian-Canadian novels while addressing the literary and political cultures of Australia and Canada. Generally, the book examines the limits and possibilities for these diasporic literatures in multicultural societies and their placement in relation to national literatures. Issues discussed in the book include: citizenship/belonging, community, images of suburbia, tensions in gender/sexuality, and recycling traditional folklore for contemporary situations. The book offers new perspectives on Australian and Canadian life and society, addressing contemporary anxieties about citizenship, cohesion in multicultural communities, ideas of ‘homeland,’ and the cultural potential of the ‘melting pot.’ The author offers extensive background information so that those unfamiliar with either Australian or Canadian material can quickly acquaint themselves with the necessary contexts as well as delving further into their details.

Its comparative approach offers a unique way to deal with issues of diasporic ‘asian-ness’ (a dynamic area of study) and national stereotypes. The book also provides a useful counter-point to recent discussions of Asian-American literature.

Dr Tseen-Ling Khoo, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland (Australia), is co-editor of Diaspora: Negotiating Asian-Australia and Culture, Identity, Commodity: Diasporic Chinese Literatures in English (Hong Kong University Press). She is Web Manager for the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand (ACSANZ), and creator/manager of the Asian-Australian academic discussion list.

“Tseen Khoo offers a fascinating and insightful study of the politics and poetics of literary production by Asian-Australian and Asian-Canadian writers and image-makers. The comparative methodology, (including the contrasts made to the Asian-American context) usefully resituates debates about nationalism, cultural policies and diasporic histories away from narrow nationalist frameworks to afford a more global perspective.” —Jacqueline Lo, School of Humanities, Australian National University

“This is an original and timely contribution to debates in diasporic Asian literatures. The author knows her Australian material extremely well and situates these within important and very relevant discussions concerning both cultural and political issues. The comparisons with Canada (and to some degree Asian American material) are also very well-informed. Overall, the book is a pleasure to read.” —Professor Sneja Gunew, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, University of British Columbia