Writers and the Culture of Exile
A tour-de-force survey of personal identity and national culture in exile
In One-Way Tickets, Alicia Borinsky offers readers a splendid tour across twentieth-century literature and popular culture, providing a literary travelogue of writers and artists in exile. She describes their challenges in adjusting to new homelands, issues of identity and language, and the brilliant works produced under the discomforts and stresses of belonging nowhere. Glimpses of Hollywood divas, the romance of distance inscribed in tango, and the drama and density of lives as they mesh with books, films, and television shows become part of a seamless contemporary tapestry.
Readers encounter Russian Vladimir Nabokov, writing in English in the United States; Argentine writer Julio Cortázar in Paris; Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz in Buenos Aires; Alejandra Pizarnik, an Argentine writer for whom exile is a state of mind; Jorge Luis Borges, labyrinthine traveler in time and space; Isaac Bashevis Singer, a Jewish writer in New York driven from Poland by the Nazis; Latino writers Oscar Hijuelos, Cristina Garcia, and Junot Diaz; and Clarice Lispector, transplanted from Ukraine to Brazil, to Europe, and to the United States.
Not surprisingly, these charismatic writers, as well as many others in Borinsky’s encyclopedic associations, inhabit equally intriguing circles. She introduces a gallery of friends and lovers, mentors and detractors, compatriots and hosts aligned in intricate patterns of geographical displacement. Readers come away with a terrific breadth of knowledge of twentieth-century literature and culture in exile—its uneasy obsessions, its difficult peace, its hard-won success.
- Winner of the ForeWord Magazine Best Book Award (finalist, social studies)
“The wide-ranging book draws examples from literature and popular culture to explore issues of language, identity, and belonging.”
— Boston University News