This paper argues that Carole Maso's novel AVA demands to be read not only as an instance of ecriture feminine but also as a piece of post-Holocaust literature. This reading refocuses attention on one of the novel's major themes and helps to rethink the contested category of post-Holocaust fiction itself. AVA demonstrates the profound effect the Holocaust has had on American art since the end of World War II, illustrating the extent to which the terms "postmodern" and "post-Holocaust" have become synonymous. It also contributes to an understanding of contemporary American cultural production as melancholic.
Anne Michaels's Fugitive Pieces diverges from earlier literature of the Holocaust in its engagement with the pastoral tradition. While the pastoral had been appropriated by the Nazis as part of their Blood and Soil ideology, Michaels reclaims and revises the pastoral and its sister genre, the elegy. She creates a traumatic pastoral focused on geological cataclysm and redefines Blood and Soil through images of soil soaked with blood. Michaels allows an anthropomorphized nature to grieve, but by presenting images of infertility rather than fertility she refuses the traditional compensatory apparatus of the elegy.
The question "How should we talk about abortion?" drives two of the most popular fictional abortion narratives of the 1920s: Ernest Hemingway's now canonical "Hills Like White Elephants" (1927) and Viña Delmar's once best-selling novel Bad Girl (1928). In both, a crisis of communication organizes a crisis of reproduction as the characters' emotionally awkward speech forestalls the realization of the modern nuclear family. As these works propose, modernism's impersonal aesthetic ideal is modernity's domestic disaster, and so diagnosed, they seek an alternative literary performance that would transform their New Women into New Mothers and their modernist Bad-Boys into All-American Dads.
In three short stories—"Propaganda by Monuments," "The WHITES ONLY Bench," and "Courage"—and in his novel The Restless Supermarket, Ivan Vladislavic dramatizes the problems facing South African culture in its attempts to memorialize a violent and traumatic past. These texts suggest a skepticism about the capacity of monuments and memorials to convey an authentic past. Restless Supermarket in particular reveals the complex ways in which memory and consciousness are mapped onto space and place in the aftermath of apartheid, and explores the spatio-temporal implications of postmodern "urban palimpsests" for the inscription of memory and identity.
Zulfikar Ghose's critical reception has focused on the relationship between authorial biography and authenticity. The Triple Mirror of the Self (1992) refracts this focus, and can be read as the author's interested response to his own exclusion from emerging canons of postcolonial literature. The novel depicts the relationship between postcolonial textual production and Anglo-American reception in a way that emphasizes how its parameters exclude Ghose's own works. It then stages the author's rejection of the expectation that he will act as an interpreter of an authenticated location related to the place of his birth.
Alice Randall's novel The Wind Done Gone, a parodic revision of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, has been billed as a work of revisionist history that challenges familiar notions about life on plantations. Yet its use of a fictive source and its therapeutic ethos suggest that it may be more accurately described as an example of what Teresa L. Ebert has called "ludic" postmodernism—a mode of thinking whose privileging of difference and performativity offers psychological satisfactions at the expense of a truer and more transformative history.
This essay argues that Don DeLillo's 2003 novel Cosmopolis presents a critique of the world of cyber capital that invokes and is framed by the long-standing Euro-American republican contrast of virtue and corruption. As always in such discourse, corruption endangers the republic, but in the increasingly mediated reality of the kosmou polites, the traditional counterweight of virtue is left with no ground on which to stand. DeLillo's book thereby takes a political turn, evoking, in the manner of the Menippean satire, a fantastical, dream-like vision of both individual and political illness.