Abstract

Losing his job as a history teacher causes the narrator and protagonist of Graham Swift's Waterland (1983) to reflect on the past and chronicle the death of a local boy during his teenage years. In doing so, Tom Crick also offers what seems to be a redeeming account of his paternal family's role in the Fens, the land dominated over the centuries by his maternal ancestors, the Atkinsons. In telling their story, however, he exercises the same exclusion that once relegated the Cricks to the historical periphery. Self-appointed family chronicler, Crick imposes narrative representation as the only way to exert one's historical agency. Yet his half-brother Dick's suicide, which emerges as an impenetrable silence, brings the account to an abrupt end, revealing the representational inadequacy of Crick's project of historical restoration while, ironically, inaugurating a new horizon of possibility for the narrator's life.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 135-152
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-13
Open Access
No
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