Issue Details: First known date: 2012 2012
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'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)

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Last amended 5 Jul 2012