Alessia Ursella

What is the Crime? The Upside-down Case of Christopher Banks in Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Kazuo Ishiguro; Shanghai; Detective.

The aim of this paper is to show how, in Ishiguro's novel "When We Were Orphans", the classic pattern of the detective story is turned into a brand new postcolonial detective novel, where East meets West, changing all perspectives and landmarks. In his novel Ishiguro introduces the reader to Christopher Banks, the perfect British detective. His ability as a detective is recognised and celebrated, only to send him back to Shanghai, where he was actually born, to solve the mystery of his parents' disappearance. The Eastern influence will be analysed in order to demonstrate that the development of crime fiction has a lot to do with its settings and that nobody, no matter how skilled a detective, is ready and good enough to solve the enigma in a place where not only spatial/geographical references but also values are overturned. In Shanghai his search intertwines with the war upsetting the town and with his past, coming back like a submerged world

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