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romance and slowness

June 2, 2013

According to Parkins and Craig (2009), “Gibson-Graham (2003: 67) argues that the cultivation of openness—“a willingness to engage in, rather than retreat from, the world,” as Thrift (2004: 69) puts it—may be more easily achievable in spaces which encourage and promote receptivity, and where it is possible to take time to encounter others in pleasurable ways. We call such social sites “slow spaces” (Parkins and Craig 2006: 73–4)… farmers’ markets are a good example of the kind of space where a slower temporality is linked to enhanced sensory and affective experience, as well as greater opportunity for sociality and conviviality. ….” [1]

This concept really interests me (Parkins and Craig’s article is a great one). It also got me thinking about Alison Wong’s As the Earth Turns Silver, though; particularly with regards to her combination of Romance and the poetic voice with a story that explores multiculturalism and national identity in some seriousness. Wong’s treatment of racism, interracial relationships, nationalistic fervour, and transnationalism does invite a ‘serious’, ‘academic’, or politically minded reading. However, the poetic language and the love story  also require a slow, leisurely movement through the lives of Wong’s characters. It just got me wondering:

Can such ‘slow spaces’ as Parkins and Craig refer to be created in literature? (Is As the Earth Turns Silver a slow space in which the reader may engage with issues like racism/multiculturalism/transnationalism, etc. more receptively and pleasurably?)

Can you have a ‘fictional’ experience of such spaces?

[1] p93 (emphases in blue bold mine) Wendy Parkins and Geoffrey Craig (2009) ‘Culture and the Politics of Alternative Food Networks’ Food, Culture & Society 12(1)March; 77-103


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