Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2210-4119
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4127
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In her study of epistolarity and world literature, Bower (2017) observes that letters “travel easily” and so are an obvious form for writing about migration and transnational dialogue. From another perspective, however, the epistolary may contain an empty promise: letters, after all, are sometimes waylaid or mislaid, unsent or undeliverable. This paper investigates the epistle and epistolary conventions in two short stories by US migrant writers – Edwidge Danticat’s “Children of the Sea” (1993) and Aleksandar Hemon’s “A Coin” (1997) – in which dialogue across national borders is made impossible under extreme political circumstances. I argue that Danticat and Hemon undermine the dialogic writing that is a basic generic epistolary convention to caution against ignoring asymmetries of power in situations of forced migration.


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