Child perspective is a symbolic narrative strategy that designs multilayered possibilities for meaning in ethnic writing. This book positions Asian American bildungsromane in the context of American writing about children, reading them through the lens of their narrators ,- the oftentimes dual child/adult perspective ,- to examine how narrative point of view nuances and shapes issues of personal, ethnic, and national positioning. This approach privileges the authors' narrative choices and engagement with genre, revealing how these critical writerly decisions construct texts that signify on multiple levels, and dialogue productively with ofher texts. Their interpretation and creative negotiation of the key elements of narrative perspective lead us to uncover aspects which are constitutive of the successful manipulation of narrative voice. The texts analyzed in this study, by Gus Lee, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Heinz Insu Fenkl, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, and Fiona Cheong, demonstrate the flexibility of this narrative technique, and its usefulness as a critical tool though which important thematic issues ,- family, race, culture, war, assimilation, and language ,- may be deployed. Reading the way Asian American texts manipulate child perspective positions these texts within developing critical paradigms and allows us to examine the manner in which they influence the development of American literature and the theory that reads it.
Alicia Otano was born in Manhattan, New York and currently teaches English as a Foreign Language at the University of Navarra. She has a degree in English from Marymount Manhattan College and a Masters and Doctorate in Literature from the University of Navarra in Spain.