Sister Cities: Border Crossings and Barriers in David Zoppetti's Ichegensanand John Warley's A Southern Girl

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Kamata, Suzanne
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Both Charleston, South Carolina, and Kyoto, Japan, are internationally popular tourist destinations rich in history and culture, which share an obsession with bloodlines, a heightened sense of decorum, and a pervasive nostalgia. Both cities are also home to an elite core of society, and both present formidable barriers to outsiders, reflective of deeply ingrained racial prejudices. In comparing the novels A Southern Girl by John Warley, the story of an international adoption in upper-crust Charleston, South Carolina, and Ichigensan, by Swiss writer David Zoppetti, about a foreign student of Japanese who falls in love with a young blind woman in Kyoto, these traits come to the fore. In this paper, I will illustrate these similarities in culture as portrayed in these two works of fiction, and also show that both novels cross borders and break with established literary tradition.
A Southern Girl, David Zoppetti, Ichegensan, John Warley