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The graveyard and the Garden: Reading Connectivities in Rana Dasgupta’s The Changeling

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Helle Schulz Bildsøe, Ulla Rahbek

In the novel Tokyo Cancelled (2005), Rana Dasgupta explores the contemporary age of globalization as a time of chaotic change. Tokyo Cancelled is composed as a story cycle of 13 tales. This article focuses on one of these tales in particular, “The Changeling”. “The Changeling” relates the tumultuous experiences of Bernard, who is a changeling and archetypal stranger in the pestilence-ridden city of contemporary Paris. The article explores the juxtaposition of systemic and organic networks as the central trope through which Dasgupta explores change and connectivities in a global twenty-first-century moment. We argue that the story presents a process of symbolic transformation whereby the national capital changes into a global city. This change signifies a shift from a national towards a planetary perspective. “The Changeling” comprises at least two different kinds of networks which converge and conflate into one overarching web that is the metropolis: there is a systemic network of control materialized in Montparnasse graveyard and an organic network out of control manifested in a community garden where people congregate to tell stories. Indeed, Dasgupta revisits Benjaminian storytelling as a global networking practice which, while locally contextualized in an impromptu garden in Paris, hints at an awareness of worldwide connectivity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Commonwealth Literature
Issue numberJanuary 28, 2017
Number of pages17
ISSN0021-9894
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 2017

ID: 182363448