Lee Skallerup Bessette deposited Dany Laferrière, Japanses Writer? Borderless Texts, Borderless Trauma in the group LLC Literatures of the United States in Languages Other Than English on MLA Commons 2 years, 8 months ago
Author Dany Laferrière, after a seven year hiatus from writing, produced the book Je suis un écrivain japonais (2008) [I am a Japanese Writer]. The title recalls statements he has frequently made in interviews about how much he hates being pigeon-holed by national or racial labels. The book itself is an examination of what (or who) defines someone’s identity and nationality in a world has become smaller and more transnational than ever. But this is not Laferrière’s first journey into Asia: in 1987, he published his second novel, Éroshima. In this novel, the author explodes the sexual stereotypes of both the Black man and the Asian woman, playing with the clichés and racial generalizations, all under the threat of a looming apocalypse. Laferrière has often written that he longer wants any borders when it comes to understanding writers and identity more generally, but is the quest for a borderless text the only purpose behind these two works? This paper examines how and why Laferrière uses Asian generally and Japan specifically to overcome his silences about personal trauma.