Aporetic Australia in The White Tiger, The Boat and The Hamilton Case

Nicholas Jose


The paper investigates the significance of the aporetic presence of Australia in three important works of contemporary fiction that deal with Asian experience: The Hamilton Case (2003) by Michelle de Kretser, the story ‘Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice’ from The Boat (2008) by Nam Le, and The White Tiger (2008) by Aravind Adiga. Each author has links to Australia. In the case of The White Tiger, the paper considers the different contexts in which it can be read, including specifically Indian English Fiction, and argues that Australia offers a further context, a disappearing point, as ‘a moral as well as a narrative alternative’. In the case of Nam Le’s story Australia appears as the enabling ground for a ‘defining but transitional, diasporic identity’. In The Hamilton Case Australia is an imaginary alternative and site for shape-changing and revenant stories. In considering these works as arguably examples of a new, mobile Asian Australian writing, the paper notes how they relate to and at the same time extend the parameters of Australian literature.


Asian Australian writing; Australian literature; Michelle de Kretser; Nam Le; Aravind Adiga; Indian English Writing; Vietnam; Sri Lanka; identity; transnational; aporia.

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