Postcolonial Trauma in David Bergen's <i>The Time in Between</i>

  • Vikki Visvis University of Toronto
Keywords: Trauma, postcolonialism, Vietnam War, Canadian literature


Studies ofpostcolonial trauma investigate Cathy Caruth’s contention that traumaticpsychopathology, by virtue of its universality, can bridge cultural difference.  In relation to the VietnamWar, David Bergen’s The Time in Between tests the limits of trauma to reconcile cultural disruption. Bergen’snovel recognizes trauma as an effective, though limited, vehicle of cultural reconciliation that ultimately needs to be supplemented by further discursiveresistance.  Although the novel’s treatment of the traumatic nightmare elicits a cultural appreciation for Vietnam beyond Orientalist abstraction, forms of parallelism point to tacit cultural fissures, which are countered through narrative self-reflexivity and the frustration of what Edward Said terms the “exteriority of representation.”

Author Biography

Vikki Visvis, University of Toronto
Vikki Visvis is a lecturer for the Department ofEnglish at the University of Toronto, where she teaches Canadian literature.She has published on trauma in Canadian and American fiction by Eden Robinson,Joseph Boyden, Dionne Brand, Kerri Sakamoto, Michael Ondaatje, and Toni Morrison in Studies in Canadian Literature, Mosaic, ARIEL, and African American Review.