This paper explores the connection between life writing and kinship in a number of narratives by adoptees from South Korea to the US as well as Scandinavia, such as American Katy Robinson’s A Single Square Picture (2002), Jane Jeong Trenka’s The Language of Blood (2003) and Fugitive Visions (2009), and Soojung Jo’s Ghost of Sangju (2015); and Swedish Astrid Trotzig’s Blod är tjockare än vatten (1996), Sofia French’s På jakt efter Mr. Kim i Seoul (2005), and Danish Maja Lee Langvad’s Hun er vred (”She is Angry” 2014).
I propose that these texts are examples of narrative kinning, an exploration and creation of kinship through text and between texts. Thus, my understanding of this term is twofold. First, for these writers, the texts provide a discursive space in which alternative modes of identity and kinship can be envisioned and embodied. Second, I suggest that the formal features of the texts are sufficiently similar to exemplify a form of narrative kinning, and that the Korean adoptee memoir could be considered a genre-in-progress. The paper traces similarities of voice, structure, themes and tone between American and Scandinavian narratives of transnational/transracial adoption. More particularly, the study shows how the first-person voice counters the parent-centric discourse of transnational/transracial adoption. Focusing on structure includes analyzing the search narrative and the home-away-home pattern, while themes like home and belonging; inauthenticity and adoption as consumption are probed. Finally, the analysis of tone suggests that the affective register of the memoirs ranges from melancholia to anger.
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
|Event||Close Relations: Critical Studies of Family and Kinship, Uppsala University, October 24 – 26, 2018. - |
Duration: 1980-Jan-01 → …
|Conference||Close Relations: Critical Studies of Family and Kinship, Uppsala University, October 24 – 26, 2018.|
|Period||80-01-01 → …|
Swedish Standard Keywords
- Humanities and the Arts (6)
- transnational adoption – memoir – kinship – genre – transracial adoption – autobiography – adoptee identity – affect