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Queen Calafia's Paradise: California and the Italian American Novel (review)

Queen Calafia's Paradise: California and the Italian American Novel (review) Book Reviews 217 Derounian-Stodola reassures us that the production and the very study of captivity literature indicate hopes of "liberation and renewal" (276). Queen Calafia's Paradise: California and the Italian American Novel. By Kenneth Scambray. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007. 211 pages, $46.50. Reviewed by Charles Scruggs University of Arizona, Tucson In this excellent study, Scambray argues that his subject is not the Italian American novel but the Italian American novel in California, and therein lies its real distinction. The characters in this fiction negotiate an American identity against a western landscape, and hence the stereotypical portrait of the Italian American as eastern, urban, poor, and criminal has little relevance to a fiction that treats a new kind of immigrant experience. Moreover, this fiction does not express the kind of dystopic view of California as reflected in the works of Nathanael West, Raymond Chandler, or Horace McCoy. Rather, the Italian American novel in California offers its characters an opportunity for renewal and a new perspective upon the definition of an American identity. The journey that they make in this fiction is neither a success story nor a simple linear narrative. Because of the absence of restrictive, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

Queen Calafia's Paradise: California and the Italian American Novel (review)

Western American Literature , Volume 45 (2) – Aug 13, 2010

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Publisher
The Western Literature Association
Copyright
Copyright © The Western Literature Association
ISSN
1948-7142
Publisher site
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Abstract

Book Reviews 217 Derounian-Stodola reassures us that the production and the very study of captivity literature indicate hopes of "liberation and renewal" (276). Queen Calafia's Paradise: California and the Italian American Novel. By Kenneth Scambray. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007. 211 pages, $46.50. Reviewed by Charles Scruggs University of Arizona, Tucson In this excellent study, Scambray argues that his subject is not the Italian American novel but the Italian American novel in California, and therein lies its real distinction. The characters in this fiction negotiate an American identity against a western landscape, and hence the stereotypical portrait of the Italian American as eastern, urban, poor, and criminal has little relevance to a fiction that treats a new kind of immigrant experience. Moreover, this fiction does not express the kind of dystopic view of California as reflected in the works of Nathanael West, Raymond Chandler, or Horace McCoy. Rather, the Italian American novel in California offers its characters an opportunity for renewal and a new perspective upon the definition of an American identity. The journey that they make in this fiction is neither a success story nor a simple linear narrative. Because of the absence of restrictive,

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Aug 13, 2010

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