This way back : essays from Cyprus
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This Way Back is a creative dissertation that explores the predicament of the transmigrant, the immigrant who has the capability of returning to the host country, and gets caught in an in-between space, not quite assimilated, and not quite unchanged. Transmigrant subjectivities coincide with globalized financial markets, and with twenty-first century forms of national allegiance. The text calls several binaries into question: Greek/Turk, Greek/Cypriot, Greek/American, gay/straight, male/female, ancient/modern, critical/creative writing, and, through its form, essay collection/memoir. The critical introduction, "Essay, Memoir, or Both? Hunger of Memory and the Problem of Nonfiction Hybrids" addresses this binary, and suggests that reading Hunger of Memory as a memoir animated by essayism makes possible a reconciliation of contradictions that have puzzled Rodriguez scholars in the past. The main, creative component of the dissertation relates stories from the author's life as a New-York-born Greek-speaking citizen of Cyprus: dancing to re-enact a mass suicide by jumping off a school stage onto gym mats, harvesting carobs on her great-grandfather's land, purchasing UNESCO-protected lace, traveling against her father's wishes to the island's occupied north, and pruning cypress trees, geraniums, and jasmine after he grew too weak to lift the shears. Narrating these stories allows her to investigate questions of voluntary and forced migration, nationhood, and war. Political events such as the 1959 guerrilla war against British rule, and the 1974 partition of the island, are conveyed through the stories of Cypriot people--the island's refugees and its returnees, among them the author's late father. Together, the essays are a memorial, one which embodies the links between political and personal loss; the individual and the environment; the living and the dead.
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