Dwelling in difference: narratives of arrival and accommodation
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SubjectRelocation memoirs; Migration narratives; Expatriate literature; Life writing; Narrative identity; Dialogical narrative
At the intersection of life writing and travel writing, ‘relocation narratives’ form a distinct subgenre of travel memoirs concerned with the everyday experiences of travellers who become settlers abroad through a process of voluntary migration and long-term foreign residency. This article examines two contemporary travel memoirists who recount a bilingual and intercultural education acquired through transnational relocation: first, Tim Parks's Italian Neighbours (1992) and An Italian Education (1996); second, Pamela Druckerman's Paris-based memoirs, Bringing Up Bébé (2012) and Bébé Day by Day (2013). More than chronicles of mere lifestyle makeovers by travellers who ‘go native’ in foreign locales, these multipart memoirs map out a process of cultural accommodation over time, revealing that learning the language, interacting with locals, and raising children according to adopted cultural precepts are forms of deep immersion in place that can lead to the development of dialogical identities through ethical engagement with cultural differences.
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