Abstract

In “Writing Trauma, Writing Life in Chanrithy Him's When Broken Glass Floats,” I discuss Him's autobiography within the context of recovery narratives, where survivors of traumatic events use writing as therapy and healing. In my exegesis of the text, I demonstrate how not just Him's memory but also the history and culture of Cambodia are reclaimed in this recovery narrative, with Him somewhat paradoxically infusing her memoir, a genre that goes against the grain of Cambodian literary tradition with its focus on the self, with elements of Cambodian culture, history, and poetic structure. The result, I argue, is a text that is neither traditional Cambodian literature nor typical American immigrant literature. I conclude the essay by locating this emergent literature within the recent global boom in witness narrative and, more specifically, within the emergent discourse of Southeast Asian American studies.

You do not currently have access to this content.