Nostalgia, Motherhood, and Adoption: Two Contemporary Swedish Examples

Lena Ahlin
2019 Humanities  
This paper explores the notion of nostalgia in two recent Swedish narratives of transnational adoption: Christina Rickardsson's Sluta aldrig gå, 2016, (published in English as Never Stop Walking in 2017), and Cilla Naumann's Bära barnet hem ("Carrying the Child Home", 2015). The two narratives deal with adoption from South America to Sweden, include autobiographical content, and enable a comparison between an adoptee memoir (Rickardsson) and a parent-authored text (Naumann). Both texts center
more » ... Both texts center on maternal images, but the analysis suggests that Rickardsson's narrative echoes the borderland nostalgia characteristic of adoptee writing. The adoptee memoirs, being reflective in mode and restorative in purpose, occupy a borderland between the two forms of nostalgia described by Boym (2001), while interrogating the temporal, spatial and affiliative boundaries of transnational adoption. Naumann's nostalgic enterprise incorporates the mirrors, doubles and ghosts of reflective nostalgia. These representations are a fruitful means to represent the "other" family, and the alternative lives that were left behind in the process of adoption. Ultimately, her text suggests the limitations of the autobiographical mode and illustrates the capacity of fiction to provide a symbolic register in which to articulate the unspeakable aspects of adoption.
doi:10.3390/h8010008 fatcat:gahq54fipnfcfdrgqqvxkoy3va