Review of Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Writings of Thomas King and Colin Johnson (Mudrooroo), by Clare Archer-Lean


Clare Archer-Lean's contemplative, border-crossing study draws on a range of theoretical sources—postcolonial and postmodern in particular—to undertake a comparative analysis of the fiction of native American Thomas King, and Black Australian Colin Johnson (Mudrooroo). Concentrating on the similarities rather than the differences to be found in their writing, Archer-Lean examines the complementary literary approaches taken by both authors as they re-negotiate the constructed nature of Indigenous identity in the white colonial imagination. Never suggesting that the experiences of all colonised peoples are the same, Archer-Lean recognises that, 'it is the burden of white will and desire to construct others' identities that colonial people share ' (82). Of course, this is not a new idea: it is a well-known reality among readers and scholars of postcolonial literature written in English that Indigenous peoples across the globe continue to endure the adverse effects of colonisation. And it would be grossly naive to suppose that all countries and cultures affected by colonisation are similarly pre-occupied in dealing with its brutal consequences. That said, however, Archer-Lean's statement serves to remind us o f Indigenous peoples ' common subjection under colonisation and of their monolithic categorisation as the non-white 'other' in the interests of imperial dominance, an issue that lies at the heart of King's and Johnson's literary projects.

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Published 1 October 2006 in Volume 22 No. 4. Subjects: Crosscultural relations, Mudrooroo.

Cite as: Clark, Maureen. ‘Review of Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Writings of Thomas King and Colin Johnson (Mudrooroo), by Clare Archer-Lean.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 22, no. 4, 2006, doi: 10.20314/als.f7d13f4dfb.