Anderson, Alexander Drew
MetadataShow full metadata
Chinese Town is the thesis component for a Masters in Creative Writing project. It is accompanied by the exegesis Interesting Times. Chinese Town is a work of literary fiction set in rural New Zealand. Chinese Town begins with the opening of the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008 and ends with the Sanlu milk scandal of the same year. The novel tells the story of the fictional South Island town of New Tower, and the impending takeover of its freezing works (South East Meat), the major employer of the town's residents. The narrative focuses on a single family (James, Isabelle, Juliane and Roger) and the young man (Sebastian) they hire to teach the townsfolk Mandarin. Unbeknownst to the family, bar James, Sebastian cannot speak Mandarin, and proceeds to teach a partially invented language. Interesting Times examines how the time and place setting of Chinese Town is important to its theme of sinophobia and xenophobia in modern New Zealand. The exegesis compares Chinese Town to other New Zealand novels in terms of its portrayal of New Zealanders’ attitudes towards China, and to postcolonial literatures in terms of its examination of language learning’s role in subjugation and continuation of culture.