The 1945 bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki seem to have recently started to recede back in the memory of Western culture. 9/11 and the age of global warfare which we are in have averted our gazes away from that past, in our tremulous expectations of the next traumatic event. In the twentieth century, poets like Tony Harrison have tackled this delicate topic, while Japanese culture has in many ways been forced and willing to reconsider its own agendas and sense of identity from those ‘ground zeroes’ onwards. In both A Pale View of Hills (1982) and An Artist of the Floating World (1986), one of the most famous and truly global writers of our times, Kazuo Ishiguro, has offered his own complex views on the still vulnerable sites and lives those events ‘created.’ In these two novels, he attempts to rememorialize the numerous competing and often contrasting memories of the lit(t)eral aftermath of the Bomb: he recuperates and interpellates collective and individual pasts, and manages to construe unstable texts which mimic the urban spaces invaded, reconfigured by and in their human and material rubble, as much as in the irretrievable traces which mark its vanishing. I Harrison and Ishiguro to verify the unreliability of memory, its radically vulnerable state, but also the possibilities of recuperation, recovery and resistance works of imagination may offer.
"Memory in T/Rubble: Tackling (Nuclear) Ruins."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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