Transnational Literature


Transnational Literature

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Volume 9, Issue 1
November 2016

  Letter from the Editor





I never fail to be thrilled by the extraordinary and continually widening reach of our journal. Nearly sixty residents of fifteen countries have contributed to this issue, each of them telling a transnational story in prose or poetry, or contributing to a vast international literary conversation about writing from dozens of other countries and cultures. Many of them, like Jessica Sanfilippo Schulz, would be ‘Third Culture Kids’, spending their lives straddling borders and boundaries. Jessica’s essay is one of an especially rich collection we have to offer you this November, with subjects ranging from Denmark-based Indian novelist and poet Tabish Khair to the young Afghanistan-born US memoirist Farah Ahmedi. And we range not only across countries but across centuries, with essays on the early twentieth-century Australian writer Nettie Palmer along with more internationally recognisable literary figures such as Joseph Conrad, Jean Rhys and Washington Irving. Lastly, Patrick McCabe’s 1992 novel The Butcher Boy is the subject of a spirited assessment by Marie McMillan.

Thirteen new poems come to you from a dazzling collection of poets. Claire Gaskin writers of her poem, ‘LiveRecovery’,

I’m looking at the transnational from a globalisation angle. I think that globalisation is a new form of colonising. Due to colonising women’s bodies, we colonise globally. I’m paralleling the body with the nation, moving through the personal to the universal. The social and political power struggles wielded in personal relationships are also wielded between nations. I’m working with the idea of globalisation as an economic force resulting in political and social control.

Poetry editor Heather Taylor Johnson adds, ‘Gaskin uses repetition and noun-substitution to surprise and challenge her readers, and that's something interesting about this group of poems as a whole: though they're mostly weighty in tone, they're quite playful in style. Experimentation with punctuation seems to be a recurring event, and in a modern-day anti-rhyming mindset, some of the poets make a bold move to keep rhyme alive.’

Also in the poetry section, we have a translation from the Persian of a powerful work about women’s lack of agency in an oppressive regime.

Seven stories and memoirs take us around the world, in humorous and poignant narratives inspired by personal encounters across cultures and countries. As always, the stories are truly transnational and range from magic realism in a Thai orphanage and early morning exasperation in South Korea to first world tourists in South India and a violent death in the cane fields of Fiji.

And lastly, dozens of book reviews, covering poetry, fiction and critical writing from all over the world, written by reviewers from all over the world. We are pleased to have been able to include five reviews originally written for Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Journal which they were unable to publish.

We would, however, be nowhere without our genial and unassuming late colleague, Syd Harrex. One year ago we included a collection of tributes to Syd following his death in May 2015. In December 2016 we are publishing a special issue out of our usual series dedicated to Syd and his work, including new essays and reprints. Some of his later poems are published for the first time.

I don’t do this alone, by any means, and I am most grateful to those who have helped me with the editing of the articles and book reviews. I have been helped enormously by Andrew Craig over the past few months, and Michael Lee Gardin has also done sterling work on some of the essays. My deputy editors Emily Sutherland and Paul Ardoin have as always provided much-needed support with the editorial review process. I would also like to thank the section editors Heather Taylor Johnson (Poetry), Md Rezaul Haque (Translations) and Ruth Starke, assisted by Molly Murn (Fiction and Life Writing) for their valuable work in curating and editing their sections.

And sincere thanks, as always, to the anonymous peer reviewers who provide their services purely in the interests of high-quality humanities scholarship. Without their thorough and thoughtful attention to our contributors’ submissions, we would simply be unable to function.

I hope you enjoy this issue.

Gillian Dooley, General Editor

Transnational Literature, Volume 9, Issue 1: Contents



  Esterino Adami Spoiling suspense? Anticipatory structures as creative narrative devices in Tabish Khair’s diasporic fiction
  Jane Hanley Nettie Palmer’s South to South: Australia, Chile and Writing the Nation
  Jessica Allen Hanssen Transnational Narrativity and Pastoralism in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. by Washington Irving
  Neelam Jabeen My Memoir Betrayed Me: A Neo-Expressivist Study of The Other Side of the Sky: A Memoir by Farah Ahmedi
  Alexandra Philp The Geography of Jean Rhys: The Impact of National Identity upon the Exiled Female Author
  Thais Rutledge and Robert T. Tally Jr. Formed by Place: Spatiality, Irony, and Empire in Conrad’s ‘An Outpost of Progress’
  Jessica Schulz Sanfilippo Marketing Transnational Childhoods: The Bio Blurbs of Third Culture Novelists
  Review Essay  
  Marie McMillan A Slaughterhouse of a Story: The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
Complete articles in one file
(Editor: Heather Taylor Johnson)
  Adeeb Kamal Ad-Deen That is the poem
  Alison Flett Lovesong
  Sanjeev Sethi Synchromesh
  Debasish Lahiri Afternoon Suicide
  Susan Hawthorne earth's back
  Rizwan Akhtar The dancing courtesans of old Lahore
  Sharon Kernot London - April, 1986
  Lane Ashfeldt Chernobyl Cherries
  Kathryn Hummel Convergence
  Robert Lumsden Wai Li at the Coffee Maker
  Claire Gaskin LiveRecovery
  Satendra Nandan Votualevu Junction
  David Adès Disembarking
  Complete poems in one file

(Editor: Md Rezaul Haque)


Saba Vasefi

The Forbidden Gender. Translated from the Persian by Sheema Kalbasi

  Fiction and life-writing
(Editor: Ruth Starke; assistant editor Molly Murn)
  Michael Armstrong


‘Zerangi’ is a word in Farsi meaning ‘clever’ that is used to describe one-upmanship. In hectic chaotic Gulf traffic, driving and zerangi go hand in hand.
  Rosemary Jackson


'Maengmoom' is the Thai word for spider.  Twenty-five years ago many Australian families adopted children from Thai orphanages. This story explores the powerlessness of such children and one child’s approach to gaining agency in a world that threatens to overwhelm. Maengmoom’s discovery of her unique gift enables her to use this special thing to make her dreams come true.
  Julie Kearney

Stepping in the river

'Stepping in the River' is about the cultural misunderstandings and small betrayals that arise when First World tourists visit Third World countries. It is also about the enduring love that people in these countries can inspire, imperfect though that love may be.
  Kavita Ivy Nandan

The red sari

When two sweet-makers travel to the new world to make a better start, they find life (and death) on the sugar cane fields is bittersweet
  Kelly Quinn

Wake-Up call

'I taught English in Seoul, Korea, in the early '90s. Strange things sometimes happened.'
  Sunil Sharma

Are hills like white elephants?

'Are Hills Like White Elephants?' is, of course, inspired by Hemingway; the tribute reflects on the abiding relevance of serious art in a changed world and extends the boundaries of his message to other human situations.
  Vicky Tsaconas


This piece is inspired by the sea and memories. It is a reflection on my relationship to both on the connections between them.
  Complete Fiction & life writing in one file
  Book reviews: Poetry  
  Ash Connell Naming the Ruins by Dinah Roma
  Ash Connell The Beautiful Anxiety by Jill Jones
  Pratap Kumar Dash The Land: Poems from Australia and India edited by Jaydeep Sarangi and Rob Harle
  Douglas E. Kazé 100 Days by Juliane Okot Bitek
  Zach Linge either, Orpheus by Dan Disney
  Heather Taylor Johnson

Breaking the Days by Jill Jones; Hoard by Tracy Ryan

  Heather Taylor Johnson Comfort Food by Ellen Van Neerven
  Amelia Walker No Waiting Like Departure by Debasish Lahiri
  Complete Book reviews: Poetry in one file
  Book reviews: Fiction and Life Writing  
  Jenny Boźena du Preez Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives: Life Stories and Essays by the First Nations People of Australia edited by Dino Hodge
  Andrew Craig The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee
  Sam Franzway United States of Banana by Giannina Braschi
  Saba Idris A Chinese Affair by Isabelle Li
  Saba Idris The Kindness of Enemies by Leila Aboulela
  Gay Lynch Here Where We Live by Cassie Flanagan Willanski
  Michael X. Savvas Ecstasy Lake by Alistair Sarre
  Ruth Starke Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
  Kathleen Steele Maralinga’s Long Shadow by Christobel Mattingley
  Emily Sutherland Ice Letters by Susan Errington
  Emily Sutherland A Very Normal Man by Vincenzo Cerami,  translated by Isobel Grave
  Amelia Walker three titles:  Breaking the Boundaries: Australian Activists Tell Their Stories edited by Yvonne Allen and Joy Noble;  The Transnational Story Hub: Between Self and Other by Merlinda Bobis and Belén Martín-Lucas; Surviving in My World: Growing Up Dalit in Bengal by  Manohar Mouli Biswas.
  Complete Book reviews: Fiction and life writing in one file
  Book reviews: History, Theory and Criticism  
  Piper Bell An Introduction to Feminism by Lorna Finlayson
  Subashish Bhattacharjee V.S. Naipaul: An Anthology of 21st Century Criticism edited by Ajay K. Chaubey
  Sourit Bhattacharya Realism in the Twentieth-Century Indian Novel by Ulka Anjaria
  Sean James Bosman Nineteenth-Century British Literature Then and Now: Reading with Hindsight by Simon Dentith
  Laura Deane Thicker Than Water: History, Secrets and Guilt – a Memoir by Cal Flyn
  Laura Deane Racism and Sociology edited by Wulf D. Hund and Alana Lentin
  Carole Gerster The Cultural Politics of Colorblind TV Casting by Kristen J. Warner
  Israel Holas Allimant Science Fiction and Digital Technologies in Argentine and Brazilian Culture by Edward King
  Nor Faridah Abdul Manaf Space and Place in Children’s Literature, 1789 to the Present edited by Maria Sachiko Cecire, Hannah Field, Kavita Mudan Finn and Malini Roy
  Adam R. McKee Toward an Urban Cultural Studies: Henri Lefebvre and the Humanities by Benjamin Fraser
  Aretha Phiri Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology by Michelle M. Wright
  Aretha Phiri Vernacular Worlds, Cosmopolitan Imagination edited by Stephanos Stephanides and Stavros Karayanni
  Cameron Smith Sites of Race by David Theo Goldberg and Susan Searls Giroux
  Svetlana Stefanova Spatiality and Symbolic Expression: On the Links between Place and Culture edited by Bill Richardson
  Pete Walsh Post-Empire Imaginaries?: Anglophone Literature, History and the Demise of Empires edited by Barbara Buchenau, Virginia Richter and Marijke Denger
  Aidan Watson-Morris Between Two Fires: Transnationalism & Cold War Poetry by Justin Quinn
  Robert M. Zecker Overlooking Saskatchewan: Minding the Gap edited by Randal Rogers and Christine Ramsay
  Complete Book reviews: History, Theory and Crticism in one file





ISSN 1836-4845




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