Literary Criticism •  Chicano/a Studies and Cultural Studies

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978-0-8263-1831-2

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Show and Tell: Identity as Performance in U.S. Latina/o Fiction


Karen Christian

What makes John Rechy a Chicano writer? To be Latino, must writing have a touch of "magical realism"? Can one talk of U.S. Latina/o identity, considering the diversity of the Latina/o experience?

Through the analysis of nine recent Latino/a novels, Karen Christian answers these and other questions, thereby adding a fresh, bold voice to the anti-essentialist debate surrounding ethnic and gender identity. Christian melds the theory of "performativity" with the latest scholarship on ethnicity and ethnic literature to create a framework for viewing identity as a continuous process that cannot be reduced to static categories. Through their narrative "performances," U.S. Latina/o writers and their characters move among communities and identities in an ongoing challenge to the notion of Latina/o essence.

This study is also among the first to examine trends across the spectrum of cultures represented in U.S. Latina/o literature--from Chicano to Cuban to Puerto Rican to Dominican.

Show and Tell is essential for any serious student of Latina/o literature and identity.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS

Karen S. Christian is vice president of Kareli Authors, Inc.

ACCLAIM

"Christian convincingly challenges the notion of a homogenous Latina/o ethnic identity. . . . an excellent example of her ability to adapt critical theory to a sophisticated analysis of contemporary Latina/o literature."

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MultiCultural Review



"Christian is persuasive and maneuvers through a great deal of philosophical and theoretical literature with ease."

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Latin American Research Review



"Christian (adds) a fresh, bold voice to the anti-essentialist debate surrounding ethnic and gender identity. . . . This study is also among the first to examine trends across the spectrum of cultures represented in U.S. Latina/o literature . . . "

--

Hispanic Outlook




6 x 9 in. 208 pages