Paper Kingdom and Other Stories (Paperback)

Paper Kingdom and Other Stories By Celeste Young Cover Image
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Paper Kingdom and Other Stories consists of a novella and three short stories. All are set in Mozambique during the 1950s and 60s, when the country was in the final decades of Portuguese colonialism. Paper Kingdom follows the life of a young Chinese girl, Estrela, from girlhood through to adulthood, her relationship with her siblings and parents, and her growing need to break free from the expectations placed upon her. The novella ends with her reconciled to the new Mozambique emerging from the effects of colonial rule. Paper Kingdom is followed by three stories, each of which, focuses on the attempts of Chinese women and girls to kick against the restrictions of traditional patriarchy and family pressures requiring them to conform. Some of them are stuck in abusive relationships, often stemming from arranged marriages, and seek to find paths to freedom in desperate, and often misguided ways. The contradictions of colonialism, and these characters' interaction with the colonial regime, form a backdrop to the stories: the Chinese in colonial Africa, like other Asian groups, were a buffer between the European ruling minority, and the Black African majority. Their relationship with both colonizer and colonized is hinted at through episodes of racial prejudice and hostility of which they are both victims and perpetrators, thus contradicting the colonial power's rhetoric of racial integration and inclusivity. But the emphasis in all these tales is on the inner lives and memories of these diasporic Chinese families, and the community to which they belonged. Within this community, traditional Chinese beliefs and superstitions are maintained, occasionally adapting to and interacting with local African belief systems, thus providing the poetic underlay of the stories, with elements of magical realism. The collection also shows that this community is riven by family animosities and jealousy, social difference, all of which threaten its coherence as its very future in Mozambique is placed in doubt with the end of Portuguese rule.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781803811376
ISBN-10: 1803811374
Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing Limited
Publication Date: September 1st, 2022
Pages: 168
Language: English