Although massive (post)socialist migration from Eastern Europe to the West is becoming increasingly represented in post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav writing, contemporary novels on women’s experiences of immigration have received scant attention, both in their host countries and in their countries of origin. This essay contributes to emerging research on Eastern European women’s migrant writing by juxtaposing two semiautobiographical novels that belong to post-Yugoslav diasporic women’s literature: Nadja Tesich’s Native Land (1998) and Natasha Radojčić’s You Don’t Have to Live Here (2005). The main protagonists of both novels are transnational mediators whose migrant identities are reshaped at the intersection of Yugoslavia and the United States, and they offer provocative perspectives on women’s interlinked lives in homeland and host communities. While Tesich fictionalizes a postsocialist migrant’s uneasy relationship with transnational feminism in ways that anticipate her later entrapment in neotraditional gender roles, Radojčić illustrates patriarchal gendering under socialism to describe her own resistance to the gender confines of capitalism. The article focuses on the novels’ different representations of transnational exchanges, exploring to what extent women migrants achieve agency in the complex world of multicultural transactions.
Between Homeland and Hostland: Women Migrants’ Agency in US Post-Yugoslav Novels
Tatjana Bijelić is associate professor at the University of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she teaches British and American Literature. Her recent publications include Dickinsonian Intonations in Modern Poetry (2018) and Contemporary Anglo-American Poetry: Ideology, Myth, Confession (Savremena angloamerička poezija: ideologija, mit, ispovijest). She has also published several articles on post-Yugoslav migrant writing in English.
Tatjana Bijelić; Between Homeland and Hostland: Women Migrants’ Agency in US Post-Yugoslav Novels. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 March 2019; 65 (1-2): 97–120. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-7378828
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