ABSTRACT

The refrain “Every moment is two moments” in Anne Michaels’s 1997 novel Fugitive Pieces, an exploration of traumatized memory and post-memory, could serve as a leitmotif pointing to the complexity of memory and witnessing in contemporary Jewish Canadian fiction. In the memory novels of Michaels, Fugitive Pieces and The Winter Vault (2009), and of Nancy Richler, Your Mouth Is Lovely (2001) and The Imposter Bride (2012), every moment is not so much two but multiple moments. These works unravel, reconstruct, and unravel again relationships among space, time, memory, and identity. The vexed and elusive nature of memory and its effects is concretized in disappeared or fragmented landscapes that haunt the characters: bogs and buried geographic features in Fugitive Pieces, cities emptied and flooded by the creation of dams in The Winter Vault, marshes and icescapes in Your Mouth Is Lovely, and bits of rock in The Imposter Bride. This essay explores the shifting chronotopes of memory through the depiction of haunted and haunting landscapes, and the overlay of memoryscapes with contemporary Canadian cityscapes.

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