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At home in the world?
Orphans learn and remember in African American novels
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This chapter offers analyses of African American orphans in Octavia Butler’s Fledgling (2005), Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories (1991), and Toni Morrison’s A Mercy (2008). These writers employ genres such as the vampire novel and the historical novel of slavery to move beyond established paradigms of the modern black family. A transnational tendency affords a different inflection on questions concerning home, family, and nation; these novels also imagine feminist, queer, and multicultural forms of kinship that move beyond the nuclear family. However, these forms of kinship are not presented in exclusively utopian terms, for the novels explore the limitations as well as the possibilities of non-normative kinship and transracial, and even trans-species, adoption.

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Making home

Orphanhood, kinship, and cultural memory in contemporary American novels

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