Issue Details: First known date: 1999 1999
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Brian Castro talks about why, at this time, he is drawn to the fabrication of autobiography over that of the novel. He asks and rehearses questions about writing and risk relative to family, memory and subjectivity in view, or in shadow, of contemporary Australian literature and politics.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y Looking for Estrellita Brian Castro , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1999 Z538753 1999 selected work prose criticism biography St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1999 pg. 203 -227
  • Appears in:
    y Australian Humanities Review AHR no. 12 December 1998 - March 1999 Z893314 1999 periodical issue 1999
    Note: This article is not in the Pandora archive.

Works about this Work

African Chicken and Transonant Subject in Brian Castro's Shanghai Dancing Jennifer Wawrzinek , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Border Crossings : Narrative and Demarcation in Postcolonial Literatures and Media 2012; (p. 253-262)
'In Brian Castro's fictional autobiography Shanghai Dancing the narrator, Antonio Castro, takes a ferry to Hong Kong. During the passage he remembers his birth of a similar ferry many years previously when, as he describes it, his mother hesitated 'between one step and the next' (212) as her labour came on. After finally arriving in the world, the newborn child lies on the threshold of life 'unbreathing for some time' - an action that, the narrator tells us, is repeated throughout his life as 'stretching breath to stopper utterance' (212). This curious depiction of hesitant arrival and of suspension in-between states underwrites the entire narrative of the book, in which Antontio [sic] Castro returns from his adopted home in Melbourne to that of his birthplace in Shanghai. He goes there carrying his father's photos in an attempt to 'reconstruct a story' by finding 'the missing pieces' (12). Yet the narrative of his family history discovers not a unified and coherent story of origin, family, and nation, but rather a radically complicated and chequered diorama of migration and dispersal that compromises any singular notion of identity or culture.' (Author's introduction)
African Chicken and Transonant Subject in Brian Castro's Shanghai Dancing Jennifer Wawrzinek , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Border Crossings : Narrative and Demarcation in Postcolonial Literatures and Media 2012; (p. 253-262)
'In Brian Castro's fictional autobiography Shanghai Dancing the narrator, Antonio Castro, takes a ferry to Hong Kong. During the passage he remembers his birth of a similar ferry many years previously when, as he describes it, his mother hesitated 'between one step and the next' (212) as her labour came on. After finally arriving in the world, the newborn child lies on the threshold of life 'unbreathing for some time' - an action that, the narrator tells us, is repeated throughout his life as 'stretching breath to stopper utterance' (212). This curious depiction of hesitant arrival and of suspension in-between states underwrites the entire narrative of the book, in which Antontio [sic] Castro returns from his adopted home in Melbourne to that of his birthplace in Shanghai. He goes there carrying his father's photos in an attempt to 'reconstruct a story' by finding 'the missing pieces' (12). Yet the narrative of his family history discovers not a unified and coherent story of origin, family, and nation, but rather a radically complicated and chequered diorama of migration and dispersal that compromises any singular notion of identity or culture.' (Author's introduction)
Last amended 9 Oct 2001 12:46:27
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