Making home

Orphanhood, kinship and cultural memory in contemporary American novels

By Maria Holmgren Troy, Elizabeth Kella, Helena Wahlstrom and Maria Holmgren Troy

Making home

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8959-6
  • Pages: 264
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: August 2014
  • BIC Category: Contemporary Literature, Literature, United States of America, USA, Literature: history & criticism, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 21st Century, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Marriage & Family, LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Sociology: Family & Relationships, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
  • Series: Contemporary American and Canadian Writers


Making home explores the figure of the orphan child in a broad selection of contemporary US novels by popular and critically acclaimed authors Barbara Kingsolver, Linda Hogan, Leslie Marmon Silko, Marilynne Robinson, Michael Cunningham, Jonathan Safran Foer, John Irving, Kaye Gibbons, Octavia Butler, Jewelle Gomez and Toni Morrison.

The orphan child is a continuous presence in US literature, not only in children's books and nineteenth-century texts, but also in a variety of genres of contemporary fiction for adults. Making home examines the meanings of this figure in the contexts of American literary history, social history and ideologies of family, race and nation. It argues that contemporary orphan characters function as links to literary history and national mythologies, even as they may also serve to critique the limits of literary history, as well as the limits of familial and national belonging.


'Making Home approaches the extremely complex topic of American culture with refreshing clarity and insight...The result is an extremely well structured and accessible study, whose depth lies in its approach to the many diverse texts it engages.'
Wade A Bell Jr, Moderna Språk, May 2016


1. Orphans and American literature: Texts, intertexts, and contexts
2. From captivity to kinship: Indian orphans and sovereignty
3. Literary kinships: Euro-American orphans, gender, genre, and cultural memory
4. Family matters: Euro-American orphans, the bildungsroman, and kinship building
5. At home in the world?: Orphans learn and remember in African American novels
A Coda


Maria Holmgren Troy is Professor of English at Karlstad University

Elizabeth Kella is Senior Lecturer in English at Södertörn University

Helena Wahlström is Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at Uppsala University

Making home

By Maria Holmgren Troy, Elizabeth Kella, Helena Wahlstrom, Maria Holmgren Troy

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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