Moving Home, Writing Home: Transnational Identity in Shirley Geok-lin Limâ€™s <i>Among the White Moon Faces</i>
Shirley Geok-lin Limâ€™s autobiography, Among the White Moon Faces: A Memoir of Asian-American Homelands (1996), narrates the Malaysian American authorâ€™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 exileâ€™s contradictory desires as to the prospect of his/her socio-political and cultural integration within the new land. Limâ€™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 Limâ€™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 immigrantâ€™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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