Moving Home, Writing Home: Transnational Identity in Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s <i>Among the White Moon Faces</i>


  • Nelly Mok, Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 University, France


Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s autobiography, Among the White Moon Faces: A Memoir of Asian-American Homelands (1996), narrates the Malaysian American author’s geographical and ontological journey, from her birthplace to the United States, to which she emigrated as a graduate student at the end of the 1960s. The writer recalls her visits back home and her migrations across her host country, shedding light on the exile’s contradictory desires as to the prospect of his/her socio-political and cultural integration within the new land. Lim’s memoir encapsulates the turmoil which the (im)migrant in exile experiences as he/she tries to figure out his/her status on foreign soil, shifting from the position of the traveller, the exile to the one of the resident alien and eventually consenting to become an American(ised) citizen. Still, ambivalence pervades Lim’s relationship with her host country while reviving her primary ties to the native land; Among the White Moon Faces questions geographical fixity, the unique territorial inscription as the site for the Malaysian-born immigrant’s sense of belonging in America, therefore invalidating any assimilationist reading of her autobiographical itinerary. As the author emphasises the necessity of communal and poetic bonds to Malaysia and America, home re-emerges and thrives beyond the boundaries of national delineation.


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Author Biography

Nelly Mok, Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 University, France

Nelly Mok is Assistant Professor of English at Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 University. She defended her dissertation Writing Of or From the Margin in Twentieth-century Autobiographical Narratives by Chinese American Women Writers at Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux 3 University in 2011. She has contributed to Positioning the New: Chinese American Literature and the Changing Image of the American Literary Canon (Ed. Tanfer Emin Tunc and Elisabetta Marino, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010) and to On the Legacy of Maxine Hong Kingston: The Mulhouse Book (Ed. Sämi Ludwig and Nicoleta Alexoae Zagni, Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2014).




How to Cite

Mok, Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 University, France, N. (2014). Moving Home, Writing Home: Transnational Identity in Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s &lt;i&gt;Among the White Moon Faces&lt;/i&gt;. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 8(1), 143–161. Retrieved from



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