Offers a fascinating window into how the fraught politics of apology in the East Asian region have been figured in anglophone literary fiction.
The Pacific War, 1941-1945, was fought across the world’s largest ocean and left a lasting imprint on anglophone literary history. However, studies of that imprint or of individual authors have focused on American literature without drawing connections to parallel traditions elsewhere. Beyond Hostile Islands contributes to ongoing efforts by Australasian scholars to place their national cultures in conversation with those of the United States, particularly regarding studies of the ideologies that legitimize warfare. Consecutively, the book examines five of the most significant historical and thematic areas associated with the war: island combat, economic competition, internment, imprisonment, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Throughout, the central issue pivots around the question of how or whether at all New Zealand fiction writing differs from that of the United States. Can a sense of islandness, the ‘tyranny of distance,’ Māori cultural heritage, or the political legacies of the nuclear-free movement provide grounds for distinctive authorial insights? As an opening gambit, Beyond Hostile Islands puts forward the term ‘ideological coproduction’ to describe how a territorially and demographically more minor national culture may accede to the essentials of a given ideology while differing in aspects that reflect historical and provincial dimensions that are important to it. Appropriately, the literary texts under examination are set in various locales, including Japan, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand, New Mexico, Ontario, and the Marshall Islands. The book concludes in a deliberately open-ended pose, with the full expectation that literary writing on the Pacific War will grow in range and richness, aided by the growth of Pacific Studies as a research area.