Progressive Presentations of Place-Based Identities in Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now
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This article provides a close reading of Meg Rosoff’s award-winning novel How I Live Now. It argues that an understanding of the text can be extended through an application of ideas found in contemporary spatial discourse concerning place. Reading the novel within this context allows a discussion of ways in which it draws on established traditions within children’s literature, but also of ways in which it challenges a view of place-based identities, and the social relations inherent within those, as being nostalgic and fixed. Whilst not unique in this respect, How I Live Now offers a particularly strong challenge to conceptions of place as being rooted in stability, a challenge which is pertinent to young readers negotiating postmodern contexts, and which offers them an optimistic and progressive consideration of place. The novel draws on some literary traditions which could be viewed as nostalgic—the imagined rural idyll, the country house and garden, the escape from the city—but Rosoff offers a subtle subversion of these traditions through her progressive consideration of place-based identities.
KeywordsPlace Place-based identities Spatial discourse Rural Meg Rosoff How I Live Now
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