Junot Diaz - Oscar Wao
Salman Rushdie - East, West (short stories)
Marjane Satrapi - Persepolis (graphic autobiographical novel - since such drawn autobiographies have become very popular, someone has come up with a name for them: autographic)
Naomi - Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (I loved this book)
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe (loved)
A Small Place - Jamaica Kincaid (not really fiction, but an eye-opener, similar to Geoffrey Fox's "Welcome to my Contri" short story, which he read for this site, you can find it under "Musings" (http://readlit.com/musings/welcome-to-my-contri-a-story-by-geoffrey-fox/)
Open City - Teju Cole (New York; not a favourite book of mine; the students hated it but most of them chose to write their final essays on this book because there is so much material in it on identity, diaspora, the other etc.)
Moor's Account - Laila Lalami (I loved it - re-narrating colonialism)
The Yiddish Policeman's Union - Michael Chabon (loved it; from now on I would read all of Chabon's books and he just came out with a new one.)
Fronteras Americanas - Guillermo Verdecchia (a very short play; not crazy about this one)
and Persepolis again.
The Doum-tree of Wad Hamid - Taib Saleh (short story)
Translations - Brian Friel (Ireland; brilliant, loved it)
Nervous Conditions - Tsitsi Dangarembga (loving it)
A Small Place - Jamaica Kincaid (see above)
Lucy - Jamaica Kincaid (not yet read)
We Need New Names - NoViolet Bulawayo
These are survey courses on "global literatures." World literature implies books from different parts of the world. Whereas global literature deals with global issues such as migration, displacement, seach for identity, diasporas, multiple languages, cultural exchange, gender equality etc. So a global book may be written in Canada, by an Indian Canadian author who explores the issues unique to Canada's Indian community or even unique to one Canadian Indian.
I wanted my list to be contemporary so I chose from works written after 1920. Aforementioned courses all chose a variety of styles (short story, graphic autobiography, play etc.), so I wanted my list to be "global" with respect to genres as well. I tried to include a variety of contemporary issues.
Here is my list:
1. Brian Friel - Translations - 1981 - Play - 94 pages - Ireland under colonizing English, mimicry. Language endangerment (losing Irish, imposition of English, adoptation of English for upward mobility)
2. Haruki Murakami - The Elephant Vanishes - 1983 - 17 short stories - Japan, China, Germany, The West, Western gaze, transnationalism
3. VS Naipaul - The Enigma of Arrival - 1987 - 318 pages - Immigration, exile, white men’s gaze.
4. Tsitsi Dangarembga - Nervous Conditions - 1988 - 224 pages - Zimbabwean author. Colonization, missionaries, mimicry. British education for Africans, Language (English vs Shona). Gender.
5. Jamaica Kincaid - A Small Place - 1988 - 81 pages - Western gaze, colonial and Postcolonial experiences, feminism.
6. Jamaica Kincaid - Lucy - 1990 - 164 pages - Western gaze, colonial and Postcolonial experiences, feminism.
7. Salman Rushdie - East, West - 1994 - 9 short stories - Culture clashes, Alternative history, Colonization
8. Shani Mootoo - Cereus Blooms at Night - 1996 - 249 pages - An imaginary Caribbean society with black, white and Indian populations. Colonization, identity, diaspora, hybridity. Gender, sexuality (transformation, fluidy)
9. Jhumpa Lahiri - Interpreter of Maladies - 1999 - 9 short stories - India, United States, Diaspora, culture and identity, hybridity, cultural appropriation
10. Zadie Smith - White Teeth - 2000 - 464 pages - British author of Jamaican descent. African, Caribbean, Muslim and Jewish backgrounds in England. First and second generation immigrants. Culture and identity. Assimilation. Hybridity. Different narrative PoVs.
11. Marjane Satrapi - Persepolis - 2000 - Graphic novel - Iran: Religion, oppression, Europe: identity, cultural differences, stereotypes
12. Phillip Roth - The Plot Against America - 2004 - 416 pages - Alternate History, Jewish Diaspora in the US. Anti-semitism, racism.
13. Junot Díaz - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - 2007 - 368 pages - USA – Dominican Republic - Identity, language, hybridity.
14. Amitav Ghosh - Sea of Poppies - 2008 - 528 pages - India; migration and displacement caused by colonization; reconstruction of identities in new lands. Race and caste system
15. Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie - The Thing Around Your Neck - 2009 - 12 short stories - Nigerian identity in USA. Immigration, cultural differences, hybridity.
16. Viet Thanh Nguyen - The Sympathizer - 2015 - 384 pages - Americans vs Vietnamese, Japanese, Challenging the usual narrative, An account of the war from a Vietnamese PoV for the first time.
17. Yaa Gyasi - Homegoing - 2016 - 320 pages - Slavery, racism, exclusion, colonialism
That's it, 17 books. I had to exclude very many great books for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I had to limit my list to 15 works and I was already above that limit.
The length of the work (either in pages or in the # of short stories) is included in case I have to teach some of these works. I tried not to choose too long works. This assignment is a first step in designing a global literatures course.
Your comments are very welcome.
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