Michael Ondaatje’s Sri Lanka in "The Collected Works of Billy the Kid”

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    Critics have attacked Ondaatje on the grounds of sacrificing a South Asian sensibility and on undermining his Canadian experience. This essay argues that Ondaatje’s "The Collected Works of Billy the Kid," although explicitly set in the South West, negotiates Sri Lanka’s history of interethnic violence through a narrative sensibility that is at once very much invested in regional and diasporic issues and also much like the process of traumatic recovery. In an expression of literary form that agrees with postcolonial and psychoanalytic ideas about unsettling historical metanarratives, Ondaatje’s text forges diasporic connections to counter the historical trauma of Sri Lanka.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3
    Pages (from-to)51-69
    Number of pages19
    JournalSouth Asian Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Sri Lanka
    • Michael Ondaatje
    • Islands
    • Trauma
    • Recovery
    • Narratives
    • Postcolonialism
    • Psychoanalysis
    • Canada
    • South West


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