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Janet Wolff

, from a family history compiled in 1998, recalling Henry Norr’s honeymoon trip: He got the English cousins quite wrong as a bunch of drunkards, because ­wherever he visited, out came the Whisky bottle: little did he realize that it took a visit such as theirs before strong drink was taken. c 78 Atlantic moves Still, apart from a few more such asides, this is a wonderful document, with ­descriptions of family members, accounts of walks round the city, a trip to the Manchester Hippodrome, a visit to Bolton to see another cousin. The hand­writing is beautiful, and the

in Writing otherwise
Lee Spinks

Sri Lanka, after a twenty-five-year absence, to engage directly with the legacy of his childhood inheritance. Running in the Family (1982), Ondaatje’s second published prose work, offers an account of his journeys to Sri Lanka in 1978 and 1980 in which he attempts to come to terms with his position between different cultures and within a fissiparous family history. Neither Ondaatje’s title nor the consistently maintained biographical focus of his narrative should deflect our attention, however, from the broader implications of Running

in Michael Ondaatje
Andrew Teverson

If the reservoir of Rushdie’s imaginative resources is substantially fed by stories drawn from the complex intertextual sea of world narrative, it is also generously topped up by events taken from his own biography and family history. Midnight’s Children , for instance, borrows extensively from Salman’s early life to supply the details of Saleem’s childhood; it also tells the ‘family secret’ that his mother had been married before and offers a fictionalised and comedic version of his father’s addiction to alcohol. Likewise, Fury

in Salman Rushdie
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Appropriating identity?
Brenda Cooper

Brenda Cooper – like other contributors to this book a trans-continental traveller – writes about her current, displaced, view of her place of origin (South Africa), her long-term academic concerns (African diasporic writing) and, most of all, her revised understanding of herself and her own family history. Through the art works of Maud Sulter and Lubaina Himid, she finds herself able to think differently both about her relationship to African culture and about her own identity as a Jewish woman of Eastern European descent. A visual link between a Sulter photograph and a family snapshot provides the opportunity to explore this connection.

in Writing otherwise
Anne Enright’s The Gathering (2007)
Gerry Smyth

Anne Enright’s novel brings the theme of betrayal in Irish life down to the near present. It is the story of the generation which, heir to a century of rhetoric and propaganda, finally had to face up to the truth of widespread, systematic, institutional abuse at large within Irish society. The Gathering traces the impact of that abuse in the lives of an ordinary Irish family, exposing the ways in which the sins of the past continue to poison and distort the present (in which respect it is of course a very typical Irish novel). The characters of Liam and Veronica Hegarty symbolise different aspects of the potential response to the single act of betrayal lurking in their family history: one ‘resolves’ the past through suicide, the other through a search for healing via the process of narrative.

in The Judas kiss
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Biography, documentary culture, and public presence
Susannah Crowder

broadly. My analysis of the jeu noted Catherine’s background in the Messine patriciate, which combined wealth with elite family status. I now dig deeper, joining personal history with documentary practice by situating Catherine Baudoche and her female relatives within a context of biography, economic agency, and legal performance. Through the analysis of unpublished archival documents and personal seals, the following pages piece together the life stories of Catherine and her stepmother, Catherine Gronnaix, revealing a family history that positioned these women at a

in Performing women
Samuel Zaoui’s Saint Denis bout du monde
Mireille Le Breton

the harsh reality of immigration crushed their dreams of the promised land (memory). Zaoui’s fictionalized oral history, à la Jacques Le Goff,10 explores the trope of the return to the ancestral land and the simultaneous journey of self-discovery: revenir pour devenir (coming back to become). It also explores Souhad’s encounter with the father figure embodied in these three men. Through her discovery of places, faces, and voices, Souhad is able to Rewriting the memory of immigration  215 reconstruct the ‘truncated’ part of her family history and thereby assemble

in Reimagining North African Immigration
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Jackie Stacey
Janet Wolff

combined with autobiography, diary entries and memoir, yet never straightforwardly. Writing in search of a sense of belonging is often interrupted by the losses and fractures brought by the return to places from the past. Narrations of origins and connections are sometimes disturbed by the vicissitudes of memory or the shame of privilege. Fragments of family history are threaded together to produce stories of uncertainty.15 Place can seem a very static concept. But in this collection, a number of contributions try to mobilise it through their writing practices. Space

in Writing otherwise
Encounters with the Other in Dermot Bolger’s The Ballymun Trilogy
Paula Murphy

a relationship with Eileen, an incident that occurred in the family history of each provides an example of how difficult it is to break out of prejudices associated with one’s family. During the Civil War, Michael’s uncle was beaten to death after locals found out that he intended to join the newly formed Free State police. Eileen’s uncle was one of those involved in the attack. Mirroring this family feud, in Act Two, Monika relates how her father and Thomas’s father ‘stood together during the workers’ strike of 1976’ but with the onset of martial law, she

in Literary visions of multicultural Ireland
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Bruce Woodcock

won three of the major Australian literary prizes and was shortlisted for the British Booker Prize. Illywhacker examines twentieth-century Australian history with the savage humour and fantasy of the earlier fiction now placed within an epic framework. The result is a novel with energy, panache and sardonic vision, which mixes family history with satirical fable and fantasy in an abundance of play and arraignment. Like Bliss, Illywhacker transgresses and undermines presumptions of formal continuity and genre coherence: it both entertains

in Peter Carey