This essay focuses on the role of visual codes to construct cultural identities within a national framework in contemporary Canadian literature and culture, and analyses the novel Chorus of Mushrooms by Hiromi Goto (1994) as an interesting study of such strategies of identitary formation in Canada. Clearly springing from the Asian Canadian rapidly growing field of writing, the novel sets itself to break institutional expectations in a number of ways. First, it exposes the asymmetries in the conditions of production of cultural identities in Canada and denounces the power of the codes of visibility in the production of cultural difference. Second, it recognizes, appropriates and reverses the functioning of cultural stereotypes, unveiling in the process their arbitrary nature. Third, it inscribes itself right into the Canadian tradition, putting into question the awkward division between mainstream and minority literature in Canada. This is done by means of a double move consisting of writing explicitly within the field of Asian Canadian tradition, specially because of its intertextual engagement with the multiaward-winning novel Obasan, by Joy Kogawa (1983), while entering and appropriating, at the same time, the texts of Canadian regionalism, specifically prairie fiction, as well as the larger national contexts of literature.
Goto, Hiromi; Chorus of Mushrooms; Literatura canadiense; Identidad cultural; Regionalismo; Kogawa, Joy Nozomi; Obasan