By S. Knowles

Go back and forth Writing and the Transnational writer explores the go back and forth writing and transnational literature of 4 authors from the 'postcolonial canon': Michael Ondaatje, Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh, and Salman Rushdie.

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Extra resources for Travel Writing and the Transnational Author

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1985, 54–55) I reject Mukherjee’s limited critique: I believe that Ondaatje’s work, based on ideas of the importance of travel to a sense of self, complicates easy binaries such as ‘Canada–Sri Lanka’ or ‘home–away’, and in doing so presents itself as transnational literature. This is enacted not only through the dependence of this writing on ideas of travel and movement, but also in the forms the narrative takes: fragmentations, slippages, ellipses, and silences are not indicative of a lack of ethical 30 Travel Writing and the Transnational Author responsibility, as suggested above, but intimate a reaction against the linearity of national affiliations and a declaration of the transnationalism of Ondaatje’s work.

In my conclusion, I move towards the idea that the turn of the century precipitated in these authors both a reaching-back for earlier works of travel writing and a looking-forward towards a time of transnational popularity for themselves and their work. This brief final chapter asks to what extent the intersections of travel writing and transnational literature in the work of these authors affect how postcolonial writing is read – and what conclusions might thus be drawn about the formation of a ‘postcolonial canon’.

Sangeeta Ray refers to ‘the paradoxical status of the prodigal foreigner that is never quite resolved’, and the ‘opposition of prodigal/foreigner’ that is ‘held in productive tension throughout the text’ (1993, 39, 40). The last sentence reveals the extent to which Ray sees Running in the Family as a balanced text, in which ‘productive’ binaries are artfully manipulated by Ondaatje: he is distanced from the ‘opposition of prodigal/foreigner’, and can hold it out for the reader ‘in productive tension’.

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