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y Fish-Hair Woman single work   novel   fantasy  
Fish-Hair Woman Issue Details: First known date: 2012... 2012
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'1987. The Philippine government fights a total war against insurgency. The village of Iraya is militarised. The days are violent and the nights heavy with fireflies in the river where the dead are dumped.

'With her twelve-metre hair, Estrella, the Fish-Hair Woman, trawls corpses from the water that tastes of lemon grass. She falls in love with the Australian Tony McIntyre who disappears in the conflict. Ten years later, his son travels to Manilla to find his father.

'From the Philippines to Australia, Hawai'i, to evocations of colonial Spain, this transnational novel spins a dark, epic tale. Its storytelling is expansive, like the heart - How much can the heart accommodate? ... Only four chambers but with infinite space like memory, where there is room for those whom we do not love.' (From the publisher's website.)

Notes

  • Launched by Professor Jacqueline Lo at Paperchain Bookstore, Manuka, Australian Capital Territory, 20 March 2012.
  • Dedication:
    For Mama Ola
    Who once grew her hair to the back of her knees
    Who told me stories about a river
    Who opened her window to fireflies
    Who called me her first beloved
  • Epigraph:
    Why do these things happen?
    I cannot find the answer.
    I can only try to lay the question in its place.
  • Magic realism.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • North Melbourne, Flemington - North Melbourne area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,: Spinifex Press , 2012 .
      2012176995458601303.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 303p.
      ISBN: 9781742197982 (eBook : epub UK), 9781742197937 (eBook : pdf), 9781742197968 (eBook : epub USA), 9781742197975 (eBook : epub ANZ), 9781876756970 (pbk.), 9781742197944 (eBook : Kindle)

Works about this Work

Merlinda Bobis’s Fish-Hair Woman : Showcasing Asian Australianness, Putting the Question of Justice in Its Place M. Dolores Herrero , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Postcolonial Writing , December vol. 52 no. 5 2016; (p. 610-621)
'Fish-Hair Woman took 17 years to write and was rejected by six publishers – the “gatekeepers” of the Australian publishing industry, according to Bobis. One of main problems when trying to locate the novel as Asian Australian is that it is set in a militarized village in the Philippines, and therefore Australia and the Australian story occupy only a marginal position. This article will study the novel’s attempt to dilute and reverse this centrality by immersing white Australian characters in foreign and dangerous Asian settings. Some theories put forward by trauma and memory studies will also be used to show how Fish-Hair Woman manages to dig up individual traumatic memories from their ruins so that the painful collective past can somehow be reconstructed and brought to the surface, the memory of the disappeared can finally be honoured, and resilience can pave the way for hope in a better future.' (Publication abstract)
Disturbance of the White Man : Oriental Quests and Alternative Heroines in Merlinda Bobis’s Fish-Hair Woman Emily Yu Zong , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 16 no. 2 2016;
'This article examines the “Oriental quest” theme and its exotic semiotics in the Filipino Australian writer Merlinda Bobis’s novel Fish-Hair Woman (2012). The Oriental quest narrative typically features Asia as a redemptive locale for white, masculine figures to alleviate their identity crises. In its touristic form, the Oriental quest offers a controlling metaphor of cultural neocolonialism, whereby the white man’s self-analysis is paralleled by his interracial romance with objectified, consumable Asian women. In reading the novel’s metafictional and magical-realistic frame, I argue that Bobis adopts strategic exoticism to ironise the therapeutic promise of an Asian journey and portrays alternative heroines who act upon multiple desires. The novel’s complication of local-global encounters and modes of story-telling enunciates a transnational ethics of otherness based on empathy. This ethics reflects Bobis’s interstitial position as a diasporic-ethnic writer writing within and beyond the Australian literary environment.' (Publication abstract)
Review : Fish-Hair Woman Bronwyn Lacken , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Reviews in Australian Studies , vol. 8 no. 2 2014;

— Review of Fish-Hair Woman Merlinda Bobis 2012 single work novel
Small Publishers Make Big Deal of Books That Slipped Under the Radar Top Books You've Probably Never Read Linda Morris , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 14-15 December 2013; (p. 13) The Age , 14 December 2013; (p. 3)
Untruths Sculpted into Truths : Merlinda Bobis’ Fish-Hair Woman Tristan Foster , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: Verity La , March 2012;

— Review of Fish-Hair Woman Merlinda Bobis 2012 single work novel
Untitled Rachel Edwards , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Bookseller + Publisher Magazine , Summer 2011/12 vol. 91 no. 6 2011; (p. 32)

— Review of Fish-Hair Woman Merlinda Bobis 2012 single work novel
Bookshop Lucy Sussex , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 4 March 2012; (p. 23)

— Review of Fish-Hair Woman Merlinda Bobis 2012 single work novel
Well Read Katharine England , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 3 March 2012; (p. 23)

— Review of Sweet Old World Deborah Robertson 2012 single work novel ; Fish-Hair Woman Merlinda Bobis 2012 single work novel
Off the Shelf Dianne Dempsey , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 6-7 April 2012; (p. 34)

— Review of Fish-Hair Woman Merlinda Bobis 2012 single work novel
As the River Flows On Alison Broinowski , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 28 April 2012; (p. 24)

— Review of Fish-Hair Woman Merlinda Bobis 2012 single work novel
Small Publishers Make Big Deal of Books That Slipped Under the Radar Top Books You've Probably Never Read Linda Morris , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 14-15 December 2013; (p. 13) The Age , 14 December 2013; (p. 3)
Disturbance of the White Man : Oriental Quests and Alternative Heroines in Merlinda Bobis’s Fish-Hair Woman Emily Yu Zong , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 16 no. 2 2016;
'This article examines the “Oriental quest” theme and its exotic semiotics in the Filipino Australian writer Merlinda Bobis’s novel Fish-Hair Woman (2012). The Oriental quest narrative typically features Asia as a redemptive locale for white, masculine figures to alleviate their identity crises. In its touristic form, the Oriental quest offers a controlling metaphor of cultural neocolonialism, whereby the white man’s self-analysis is paralleled by his interracial romance with objectified, consumable Asian women. In reading the novel’s metafictional and magical-realistic frame, I argue that Bobis adopts strategic exoticism to ironise the therapeutic promise of an Asian journey and portrays alternative heroines who act upon multiple desires. The novel’s complication of local-global encounters and modes of story-telling enunciates a transnational ethics of otherness based on empathy. This ethics reflects Bobis’s interstitial position as a diasporic-ethnic writer writing within and beyond the Australian literary environment.' (Publication abstract)
Merlinda Bobis’s Fish-Hair Woman : Showcasing Asian Australianness, Putting the Question of Justice in Its Place M. Dolores Herrero , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Postcolonial Writing , December vol. 52 no. 5 2016; (p. 610-621)
'Fish-Hair Woman took 17 years to write and was rejected by six publishers – the “gatekeepers” of the Australian publishing industry, according to Bobis. One of main problems when trying to locate the novel as Asian Australian is that it is set in a militarized village in the Philippines, and therefore Australia and the Australian story occupy only a marginal position. This article will study the novel’s attempt to dilute and reverse this centrality by immersing white Australian characters in foreign and dangerous Asian settings. Some theories put forward by trauma and memory studies will also be used to show how Fish-Hair Woman manages to dig up individual traumatic memories from their ruins so that the painful collective past can somehow be reconstructed and brought to the surface, the memory of the disappeared can finally be honoured, and resilience can pave the way for hope in a better future.' (Publication abstract)
Last amended 12 Mar 2015 13:15:05
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