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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Cracked vases and untidy seams: narrative structure and closure in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and South African fiction
Author:Samuelson, MegISNI
Periodical:Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:offences against human rights
commissions of inquiry
Abstract:South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) reveals a tension between a desire to open up the story of the past and to 'close the chapter on our past'. This article explores this tension by considering both the TRC's relation to closure and those of selected fictional narratives that explicitly respond to the TRC. It argues that the tidy closure of reconciliation both excludes the traumatic traces of 'deep memory' and fails to account for the presence of the past in the present. Focusing on formal structure and endings, it examines how metaphors of narrative such as Derek Walcott's 'cracked vase' and textile images of quilting, tapestry and weaving suggest ways of writing the past that defer closure and complacency in favour of process and creative reworking. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]