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Making homeOrphanhood, kinship and cultural memory in contemporary American novels$
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Maria Holmgren Troy, Elizabeth Kella, and Helena Wahlström

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089596

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089596.001.0001

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At home in the world? Orphans learn and remember in African American novels

At home in the world? Orphans learn and remember in African American novels

(p.169) 5 At home in the world? Orphans learn and remember in African American novels
Making home

Maria Holmgren Troy

Elizabeth Kella

Helena Wahlström

Manchester University Press

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.

Keywords:   adoption, African American orphans, black family, historical novel, Jewelle Gomez, Octavia Butler, queer kinship, Toni Morrison, transnational tendency, vampire novel

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