Abstract: This article focuses on Drift, the fifth novel of contemporary Australian writer, Brian Castro, and concentrates on the ambiguous racial inscriptions of some of its characters. While white experimental British writer B.S. Johnson progressively becomes darker in the novel, his desire to escape his whiteness is complicated by another extreme, the albinism of Tasmanian Aboriginal Thomas McGann. This article discusses one essential aspect of these surprising fictional representations: the critique of whiteness that they articulate. The racial ambiguity of the two main characters offers a subtle reflection on Tasmania’s colonial legacy. Yet beyond Castro’s exploration of the contingencies of the Tasmanian context, the characters’ racial ambivalence destabilises conventional representations of whiteness. The novel both exposes the metonymic nature of whiteness and critiques the specific modes of reading the body that are involved in preoccupations with whiteness.
Keywords: Brian Castro; whiteness; Tasmanian Aborigines
Copyright © Marilyne Brun 2011. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged.