The Imprint of Another Life: Adoption Narratives and Human Possibility
The texts examined include fiction (e.g., classic novels such as Silas Marner, What Maisie Knew, and Beloved); memoirs by adoptees, adoptive parents, and birthmothers; drama, documentary films, advice manuals, social science writing; and published interviews with adoptees, parents, and birth parents. Along the way the book tracks the quests of adoptees who, whether or not they meet their original families, must construct their own stories rather than finding them; follows transnational adoptees as they return, hopes held high, to Korea and China; looks over the shoulders of a generation of girls adopted from China as they watch Disney’s iconic Mulan, with its alluring story of destiny written on the skin; and listens to birthmothers as they struggle to tell painful secrets held for decades.
This book engages in debates within adoption studies, women’s and gender studies, transnational studies, and ethnic studies; it will appeal to literary scholars and critics, including specialists in memoir or narrative theory, and to general readers interested in adoption and in race.
After spending so many years doing research and finding myself smack in the muck of the world’s adoptionland mess, I am honored Margaret mentioned me in her book…Trace/Lara
How adoption and its literary representations shed new light on notions of value, origins, and identity
“Gracefully written and drawing on a thorough command of the critical and primary literature in its field, The Imprint of Another Life shows a willingness to engage with uncomfortable questions and, when necessary, to take controversial positions. . . . This book should attract considerable attention from scholars in adoption studies, race/ethnic studies, gender studies, and ethics.” —Claudia Nelson, Texas A&M University
Drawing from a variety of literary sources and films from the nineteenth century to the present, this study poses—and answers—a series of crucial questions about adoption and identity. The result is a valuable piece of scholarship, well researched and thoughtfully argued, that will serve researchers of adoption across many disciplines, adoption service professionals, and members of the adoption community.”
—Carol Singley, Rutgers University
Margaret Homans is Professor of English and of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University.