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In-Between – Liminal Spaces in Canadian Literature and Cultures

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Edited By Stefan L. Brandt

In the past few years, the concept of «liminality» has become a kind of pet theme within the discipline of Cultural Studies, lending itself to phenomena of transgression and systemic demarcation. This anthology employs theories of liminality to discuss Canada’s geographic and symbolic boundaries, taking its point of departure from the observation that «Canada» itself, as a cultural, political, and geographic entity, encapsulates elements of the «liminal.» The essays comprised in this volume deal with fragmented and contradictory practices in Canada, real and imagined borders, as well as contact zones, thresholds, and transitions in Anglo-Canadian and French-Canadian texts, discussing topics such as the U.S./Canadian border, migration, French-English relations, and encounters between First Nations and settlers.

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The Politics of Memory and Longing in Kim Thúy’s Ru (Andreea Catrinela Lazăr)

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Andreea Catrinela Lazăr

The Politics of Memory and Longing in Kim Thúy’s Ru

Abstract: My paper aims at highlighting how important literary production is when it comes to the cultural politics of memory and belonging in the context of Canada’s transnational imagination. Considering the fact that, in light of their works, not all writers are concerned with claims to citizenship and identity, more attention must be paid to re-evaluating Kim Thúy’s novel Ru from the perspective of its ‘transnational politics of longing/belonging.’ Using various spatial metaphors linked to the concept of liminality, such as ‘border’, ‘frontier’ or ‘threshold,’ Ru revolves around the existential issue, “What made me what I am?” In its aesthetics of memory and longing, Thúy’s book reveals the state of mind for which humans yearn in their desperate attempt to reconcile with their bounded selves (cf. Braidotti 57). Accordingly, my intention is to examine critically the acts that the characters of Thúy’s novel undertake in order to make sense of who they are. I will focus particularly on their conversations and personal reflections that exemplify how they transform themselves to survive in a world that, in spite of the daily speed and intensity, still needs order and stability.

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