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Transnational Hybridity and Re-(b)ordering Cultural Reality in Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss



本論文旨在探討姬蘭˙德賽(Kiran Desai)的小說《繼承失落的人》(2006)橫跨多國場域所形塑的揉混文化與種族認同,剖析該書如何透過跨國過程與離散主體去國離鄉的經驗,鋪陳種族文化的跨國揉混、刻劃族裔認同在跨國流動中匯聚、重新梳理所產生的徵候。除了描摹諸多角色的不同跨國經驗與境遇,《繼承失落的人》的敘述交錯於兩個主要場景:葛倫堡(Kalimpong)與曼哈頓(Manhattan);故事情節來回貫穿於「第三世界」與「第一世界」、印度東北鄉間與全球囑目的世界之都。小說敘述穿梭在同時被跨國浪潮席捲的邊界山麓小鎮與全球大都會之間,呈現跨國移動的新視界。小說藉此串聯後殖民的南亞、與西方政治經濟重鎮的美國,並置北印度多種族、多文化的政經動盪與美國曼哈頓各國移民中,不同族裔的扞格、協商、交融。此外,小說的雙重世界/平行敘述除了凸顯文化再定(跨)界的新文化現實,也闡明過去舊有的國族認同,已無法涵納現今全球化與跨國想像。本論文藉由檢視小說中多重交織的印度半島後殖民議題,與紐約市非法移民的失根或失落經驗,指出當今變遷萬端的文化跨國流動中,種族文化的揉混與東西文化界域新秩序的不斷重整、劃(跨)界,實為跨國主義研究中的重要議題。

Parallel abstracts

This paper addresses the way in which Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss (2006) locates the formation of racial and cultural identities both across multiple national sites and in specific localities-both through processes of transnationalism and through negotiations of specific geographical space undertaken by transnational diasporic subjects. The Inheritance of Loss is a transnational novel in terms of the subjects it treats, its geographical scope, and the kinds of experience it dramatizes. The narrative of the novel switches between Manhattan and Kalimpong, moving between ”First” world and ”Third” world, metropolis and hamlet, personal and political. In doing so, The Inheritance of Loss combines elements of South Asian and American cultures while offering a new racial and cultural synthesis and a renewed vision of the transnational mobility. The novel's two-world/parallel form actually bespeaks an awareness of re-(b) ordering cultural reality necessary for a global and transnational imaginary that can no longer be fully encapsulated under the old trope of national identity. By looking specifically at how the postcolonial issues in Indian subcontinent and the dislocation experiences of the migrants in New York City are intersected in the novel, the paper proposes that The Inheritance of Loss points us towards a transnational politics attentive to these questions, which are complicated by today's globalized world.


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