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Unfastened

Globality and Asian North American Narratives

2010
Author:

Eleanor Ty

Unfastened

Understanding Asian American literature, history, and culture in terms of globalization

Unfastened examines literary works and films by Asian Americans and Asian Canadians that respond critically to globality—the condition in which traditional national, cultural, geographical, and economic boundaries have been—supposedly—surmounted. Eleanor Ty sees in these diverse narratives unfastened mobile subjects, heroes, and travelers who use everyday tactics to challenge inequitable circumstances in their lives brought about by globalization.

Unfastened is a timely, lucid, and intelligent contribution to ethnic literary studies. It prioritizes the importance of a global framework for grasping the pieces of literature it analyzes, and it provides interpretations of a neglected set of significant recent work.

Victor Bascara, UCLA

Unfastened examines literary works and films by Asian Americans and Asian Canadians that respond critically to globality—the condition in which traditional national, cultural, geographical, and economic boundaries have been—supposedly—surmounted.

In this wide-ranging exploration, Eleanor Ty reveals how novelists such as Brian Ascalon Roley, Han Ong, Lydia Kwa, and Nora Okja Keller interrogate the theoretical freedom that globalization promises in their depiction of the underworld of crime and prostitution. She looks at the social critiques created by playwrights Betty Quan and Sunil Kuruvilla, who use figures of disability to accentuate the effects of marginality. Investigating works based on fantasy, Ty highlights the ways feminist writers Larissa Lai, Chitra Divakaruni, Hiromi Goto, and Ruth Ozeki employ myth, science fiction, and magic realism to provide alternatives to global capitalism. She notes that others, such as filmmaker Deepa Mehta and performers/dramatists Nadine Villasin and Nina Aquino, play with the multiple identities afforded to them by transcultural connections.

Ultimately, Ty sees in these diverse narratives unfastened mobile subjects, heroes, and travelers who use everyday tactics to challenge inequitable circumstances in their lives brought about by globalization.

Unfastened

Eleanor Ty is professor of English and film studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. She has published widely on Asian North American literature and film and on eighteenth-century British literature.

Unfastened

Unfastened is a timely, lucid, and intelligent contribution to ethnic literary studies. It prioritizes the importance of a global framework for grasping the pieces of literature it analyzes, and it provides interpretations of a neglected set of significant recent work.

Victor Bascara, UCLA

By promoting the discussion of non-realistic literary forms, such as texts using postmodernist techniques or magical realism, Professor Ty significantly enlarges and enriches our understanding of the range, scope, and ambition of Asian North American literary production.

Patricia Chu, George Washington University

The question of whether this book might be of interest to any readers other than Asian Studies scholars can be answered by a resounding ‘Yes!’ because Ty’s book considers problems that are of concern to diasporic communities of any ethnicity.

Multicultural Review

A reading of 21st century narratives within a global/diasporic framework is much needed, and this book makes an important start.

Choice

Ty effectively demonstrates how physical, psychic, and social mobilities have multiplied the spaces, relations, and concerns addressed in Asian North American literature...

Canadian Literature

Useful reading for anyone who wants a primer on Asian Canadian literature and literary criticism.

MELUS