Haunted Transpositions in Violet Kupersmith’s Build Your House Around My Body (2021)

Abstract

Twisting and uncanny, Build Your House Around My Body is a kaleidoscopic hallucination of a novel. Its story fits uneasily in multiple genres, from the Gothic to the bildungsroman, and it is told via the seemingly contradictory—yet ultimately sympathetic—techniques of magical realism and historical fiction. The primary protagonist of the book is Winnie, an American-Vietnamese woman whose biracial identity has alienated her from her dual cultures but also, crucially, from her self. Through her narrative we learn not only the histories of the characters around her, but also the recent history of Vietnam. The novel charts a sinuous and haunting movement across time, space and identity, creating a complex yet fascinating book of shifting narratives and meanings.

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Carabine, A., (2024) “Haunted Transpositions in Violet Kupersmith’s Build Your House Around My Body (2021)”, Moveable Type 15(1), 117-120. doi: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.1755-4527.1782

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Alex Carabine

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