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Book review of 'Christos Tsiolkas: The Utopian Vision' by Jessica Gildersleeve


Stark, H, Book review of 'Christos Tsiolkas: The Utopian Vision' by Jessica Gildersleeve, Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, 19, (2) pp. 1-2. ISSN 1447-8986 (2019) [Review Single Work]

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I have always read Christos Tsiolkas as a writer whose grand vision is of the failure of all political utopias. In particular, I have considered Tsiolkas in relation to the anti-social strand of queer theory and the perceived failure of queer politics. However, in Jessica Gildersleeve's

Christos Tsiolkas: The Utopian Vision

, she positions his body of work as offering a politics of hope through negative affect. In this way, her focus is not descriptive but is engaged with asking larger political questions about writers, readers and reading. Gildersleeve uses deconstructive and psychoanalytic strategies to reveal the ethical and affective capacities of Tsiolkas's work. She reads Tsiolkas in relation to the social and ethical capacity of literature to produce a reader who is a 'responsible, ethical, affective, and effective citizen' (4). Using Sara Ahme'ís critique of happiness as an emotion that is used to cover over oppression, Gildersleeve positions negative affect as a form of resistance to normativity and positions it as a textual strategy that can elicit political change. This is particularly pertinent in relation to migrant or refugee narratives, like the ones that appear throughout Tsiolkas's work, where there is a perceived duty of happiness and gratitude. It is also central to Tsiolkas's positioning as an Australian writer and his unrelenting critique of the 'lucky country'.

Item Details

Item Type:Review Single Work
Keywords:Christos Tsiolkas
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
UTAS Author:Stark, H (Associate Professor Hannah Stark)
ID Code:136674
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2020-01-13
Last Modified:2020-01-17

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