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28. Reheated Figures: Five Ways of Looking at Leftovers

Jani Scandura

Subject Literature » American Literature

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics novel and novella

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631206873.2009.00031.x


The so‐called “modern” novel appears to me to be a garbage‐pail or ash‐can which contains every cast‐off remnant of living: old cloths, broken crockery, back numbers, stale food and decaying fish. (Oliver Gogarty , Rolling Down the Lea) At the end of my time, when I die, I don't want to leave any leftovers. And I don't want to be a leftover. I was watching TV this week and I saw a lady go into a ray machine and disappear. That was wonderful, because matter is energy and she just dispersed. (Andy Warhol , The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again)) Thought waits to be woken one day by the memory of what has been missed. (Theodor Adorno , Minima Moralia) There is a passage in Joy Kogawa's 1981 novel, Obasan , that I can never shake. Naomi, a Japanese‐Canadian Sansei (third‐generation) who is coming to terms with her childhood memories of forced relocation from British Columbia and the unexplained loss of her mother during World War II, describes a visit with Obasan, the woman who raised her: Everyone someday dies, she [Obasan] is saying with a sigh as she clears the table. She takes half a piece of leftover toast and puts it away in a square plastic container. The refrigerator is packed with boxes of food bits, a slice of celery, a square of spinach, half a hard‐boiled egg. She orchestrates each remainder of a previous dinner into the dinner to come, making each ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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