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Eva Hoffmans Double Emigration: Canada as the Site of Exile in Lost in Translation

Eva Hoffmans Double Emigration: Canada as the Site of Exile in Lost in Translation 23-casteel 4/9/01 3:20 PM Page 288 EVA HOFFMAN’S DOUBLE EMIGRATION: CANADA AS THE SITE OF EXILE IN LOST IN TRANSLATION SARAH PHILLIPS CASTEEL Lost in Translation, Eva Hoffman’s 1989 account of her family’s difficult emigration from Poland to Canada and her own subsequent immigration to the United States, is described in the back cover blurb as “A classically Amer- ican chronicle of upward mobility and assimilation” (emphasis added). Ignoring the fact that almost a third of Lost in Translation takes place in Canada, critics have also tended to classify the book as American immigrant autobiography. In the critical literature, the Canadian portions of the narra- tive are discussed as though they were continuous with the American por- tions, the term “American” applied indiscriminately to either side of the bor- der. Yet Hoffman herself draws a sharp distinction between the Canadian and American periods of her life, as the book’s tripartite structure makes clear. The first section of the book, in which Hoffman lovingly reconstructs her postwar childhood in Poland, is entitled “Paradise.” The second section, which records the 1959 immigration of Hoffman’s Polish-Jewish family to Vancouver, their struggle to establish themselves there, and the profoundly disorienting impact of this http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

Eva Hoffmans Double Emigration: Canada as the Site of Exile in Lost in Translation

Biography , Volume 24 (1) – Feb 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 Biographical Research Center.
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

23-casteel 4/9/01 3:20 PM Page 288 EVA HOFFMAN’S DOUBLE EMIGRATION: CANADA AS THE SITE OF EXILE IN LOST IN TRANSLATION SARAH PHILLIPS CASTEEL Lost in Translation, Eva Hoffman’s 1989 account of her family’s difficult emigration from Poland to Canada and her own subsequent immigration to the United States, is described in the back cover blurb as “A classically Amer- ican chronicle of upward mobility and assimilation” (emphasis added). Ignoring the fact that almost a third of Lost in Translation takes place in Canada, critics have also tended to classify the book as American immigrant autobiography. In the critical literature, the Canadian portions of the narra- tive are discussed as though they were continuous with the American por- tions, the term “American” applied indiscriminately to either side of the bor- der. Yet Hoffman herself draws a sharp distinction between the Canadian and American periods of her life, as the book’s tripartite structure makes clear. The first section of the book, in which Hoffman lovingly reconstructs her postwar childhood in Poland, is entitled “Paradise.” The second section, which records the 1959 immigration of Hoffman’s Polish-Jewish family to Vancouver, their struggle to establish themselves there, and the profoundly disorienting impact of this

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Feb 1, 2001

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