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Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai Review by: Michael Thorpe World Literature Today, Vol. 70, No. 4, Assia Djebar: 1996 Neustadt International Prize for Literature (Autumn, 1996), p. 1036 Published by: Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40152539 . Accessed: 06/12/2013 06:22
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set in Sri Funny Lankaduringthe few yearsprecedingthe anti-Tamil riots in Colombo. how the Americans.which reflectshis councaught through vignettes delightfully delineated with sizes. Funny Boy.in SriLanka. and obviaccomplice. 6 Dec 2013 06:22:17 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .how many people died of starvationin 1945.emigratesto Canadawith his fam.who loves the false world of LittleWomen.1996 (© 1994).arrangedone. twined."funny" Some of her compositionshave appeared (thatis.to neither of tlement in Canada. ily as politicalrefugees. Ronsdale. nightmares.to DarylUncle. and later at the University of Victoria) pressedthe hope that.227. maneuveringsto evade harm.1995.is not.C. murdered her grandfatherin the fifties language riots.In bilingual Quebec.playingcard games in an air-raid shelter."Indeed it is. in his poems by the VietnameseCanadianteacherThuong father'sword. mustwitnessa loveless.weeping for loss.as poetic souls.as brutalschool life.colors. the two factors are english over Radio Canada.As a child.Sovietsrespectively helped pit South Vietnamand North ment.as Selvadurai Like many such novels. how Nationalist Chinese troops will be a strait. but acknowledged rueHer gratitudeis expressed in moving verses to her husBoy fully that.When DarylUncle. Boyis a veryaccomplishedfirstnovel. how the Vietminh seized pated romanticwedding. Arjie. where he can now rest in peace far from . 1983.Arjie. a journalist.French. fromFunny whatthey shut out. a Burgher(of Vietnamagainsteach other.anese"north of the sixteenth parallel. 310 pages.the Chinese."but ironicallysomething jacket of inheritedprejudice. 921870-35-3.1036 WORLD LITERATURE TODAY he well knows.Perhaps his next work gave her beautiful. udice.$23. Although he does manage one defiant she recallstheir childhood.139. he can hear without being noticed. finds she must not love a Sinhalese because Sinhalese and Canada. in the novel'svoice:recordingnot the "coralpink of memogrances to a strugglingyoung academic.in French open to the readerVuong-Riddick 's life story. Apart from some Journal:An Epilogue." lish or Perish"was more than the departmentalslogan ry" In a CBC interview (21 January 1996) Selvaduraiex(she taught French at the Universityof Montreal.to her setdivisionbetween the boys' and girls'worlds. Can$14. His characterand his comDarylbegins a clandestineaffairwith her. France.nakedlyrecord. His favoriteAuntyRadha. or often over. nist and narrator. takingwalksacrossthe coungesturethere.Sinhalesewouldlearn . his experienceof "dif." While it deTwoShores / Deux Rivesis a bilingual collection of velops throughoutthe boy's realizationthat he is."My The latter voice cried out loudly as if it were the only weapon I had life. Beginning with the relativelycomic conflict of Arjie's nativeVietnamto pursueher studiesin France.as with his Aunty.she obviously enjoysseeing in her dreamsthe are no longer possible.Vuong-Riddick. Thereafterthe novel's protago."Even the "smallchoices" of an earlier chapter.to whom "Pubbut "howthingsreallywere. This is Arjie'sharshestlesson in reality . Returning to Sri Lanka Vuong-Riddick dearlyloves her father and remembers from Australia.fear inhibitshis mother'sdesirefor investigation Americanshore.Thuong Vuong-Riddick. It is otherwisein his family. for whom money is extorted. howJapanesetroopsoccupied the understanding.and the division and finds it rooted in his mother's old attach.a peculiarly white disease."Reality" may mean "without your family land in the 1940s. Thus her corpus is hear. mixed ancestry.and Arjie. who sponsored her relativesin their migrationto support the Tamil Tigers.NewYork. The love emanating from the author's andjustice. after the Franco-Vietnamese As familialinsightgrows.ISBN 0himselfdid.a lesson reinforced in his held power and who didn't" mother and siblingsalso surfacesin stanzaafterstanza.tryside.occupy an importantcorner in her and the political. America. singing ed in "Riot French songs in school and at home. writes. his darkerdiscoveriescome she startedwriting landed and began to "inhabit winter.All comes together. VancouTwoShores / DeuxRives. and who while dissentersare intimidated. ISBN0-688-14595-7. where she first which he can whollybelong. then. her language of education. With candid nostalgia Vuong-Riddickreminisces in verse about life in "FrenchIndochina. in whichArjie. ference" is as much racial as sexual. vetoed by her family.leading to a separationof circumstance.swoopeddownon TonkinafterV-JDay"todisarmtheJapyou are nothing.flowers . .ver.partly Dutch). as often represented."how Vietnamese Arjiemust learn that his life is determinedby whathis elders cannot forget:the narrative balanceshis igfamilies (subdued yet comfortable and proud) fared skillfully norance and naivetewith a slight overlayof retrospective under the Frenchrule.becomes an involuntary ments on life are mentioned in severalpoems. a Sinhalese.95. MichaelThorpe MountAllison University Sri Lanka ShyamSelvadurai.intelligent children with precociously willexplore the ironiesof "freedom" in Canada: racism. and smells from the time she left her try'suglydivision.is murdered ous relief was felt when his ashes arrivedon the North in Jaffna. 161 pages.who offered her love and solicitude.he stumblesupon his parents' cluded in 1954. the personal street vendors in Hanoi hawkingfresh fruit and flowers. the inexorablefactsprevail."who his homeland.and others have been read in Enwith his first lover. sights." her poems in English and then later re-createdthem in through his intense observationof familialconflicts. most Tamilswho are from Jaffna band. what he used to teach her.82 on Fri. in his relationship in Canadianmagazines.Insteadof his Aunty'santici. in Toronto. FunnyBoyis about growingup into a difficultknowledgeof "thereal world. hostilitiesconpower. gay).returningfrom America. as successivehome gardens in southern Franceand in western Canadalovinglyprovide both colors and fraagainstthose who had destroyedmy life. Vietnam This content downloaded from 14. at McGillUniversity. broken down neatly into three parts:Vietnam.The facing texts in Englishand not prej. B.Morrow.

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