Book chapter
Open access

Bearing the Diasporic Burden: Representations of Suicide in Sky Lee's Disappearing Moon Café, Fae Myenne Ng's Bone, and Hsu-Ming Teo's Love and Vertigo

PublisherAmsterdam : Rodopi
Publication date2008

These three texts are geographically distinct – Fae Myenne Ng is a Chinese-American writer, Hsu-Ming Teo is Chinese-Australian and SKY Lee is Chinese-Canadian – but they share a concern with the particular historical and cultural pressures that form the diasporic experience of Chinese immigrant communities. In all three nations of America, Australia and Canada, exclusionary legislative, political, and social practices have operated from the late nineteenth century to shape the Chinese diasporic community in specific ways. The identity of diasporic Chinese communities has also been shaped by competing discourses of “Chineseness”: particularly the valorisation of mainland versus overseas “Chineseness”. In these three texts, suicide becomes the trope that represents the complex interplay of cultural and historical factors to which Chinese female disaporic subjects are exposed. In Bone and Love and Vertigo the text focuses upon the struggle of the narrator to comprehend the suicide of a close family member; in Disappearing Moon Café this same problematic enters the text as part of a broad family saga. But in each case, the individual who dies is a woman – sister or mother – thus raising issues of both Chinese and western patriarchal control of women's lives, issues that mirror the racial problematic of the control of Chinese lives through the hegemonic construction of Chinese subjectivity and which are put into question by the experience of Diaspora.

  • Diaspora
  • Immigration
  • Nationalism
  • Chinese-American Literature
  • Chinese-Canadian Literature
  • Chinese-Australian Literature
  • Violence
  • Suicide
  • Gender
  • Femininity
  • Ethnicity
Citation (ISO format)
MADSEN, Deborah Lea. Bearing the Diasporic Burden: Representations of Suicide in Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Café, Fae Myenne Ng’s Bone, and Hsu-Ming Teo’s Love and Vertigo. In: China Fictions/English Language: Literary Readings in Diaspora and After. Amsterdam : Rodopi, 2008.
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Book chapter (Accepted version)
  • PID : unige:87698

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