January 23, 2014
Challenging the tidy links among authorial position, narrative perspective, and fictional content, Stephen Hong Sohn argues that Asian American authors have never been limited to writing about Asian American characters or contexts. Racial Asymmetries specifically examines the importance of first person narration in Asian American fiction published in the postrace era, focusing on those cultural productions in which the author’s ethnoracial makeup does not directly overlap with that of the storytelling perspective.
Through rigorous analysis of novels and short fiction, such as Sesshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex, Sabina Murray’s A Carnivore’s Inquiry and Sigrid Nunez’s The Last of Her Kind, Sohn reveals how the construction of narrative perspective allows the Asian American writer a flexible aesthetic canvas upon which to engage issues of oppression and inequity, power and subjectivity, and the complicated construction of racial identity. Speaking to concerns running through postcolonial studies and American literature at large, Racial Asymmetries employs an interdisciplinary approach to reveal the unbounded nature of fictional worlds.