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This essay argues that contemporary literary anthologies of Indian Ocean narratives offer a distinctive way of representing the diversity of voices and experiences that traverse the ocean and connect the different countries and cultures along its rim. Whereas the single-author historical or historiographical novel is often the focus of Indian Ocean literary scholarship, this essay examines Ways of Being Here and Wave after Wave, anthologies produced under the rubric of Indian Ocean mentorship and writing projects by the Centre for Stories located in Perth, Western Australia. While the anthologies do share some thematic similarities with Indian Ocean novels, this essay draws on Kamau Brathwaite’s thinking to argue that the anthologies have a tidalectical aesthetic connecting their different individual pieces, which unfolds as readers move through their pages. This tidalectical aesthetic, in which there is no resolving synthesis but rather a series of interconnected and overlapping lived experiences and emotional struggles produced by multiple authors, may be a better way of representing contemporary Indian Ocean narratives that circles back to issues of migration, racism, and resistance at the very southeastern edge of the Indian Ocean.
Comparative Literature – Duke University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2022
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