Fashioning A Taiwanese Queer Narratology: Yang Shuang-zi’s Blooming Season as Mê-kak Tactic
Fan-Ting Cheng(Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Taiwan University)
In the recent decade, the development of time-travel themed film, television and literary queerworks has, on the one hand, reached its productive peak and on the other hand, severely censored by the Chinese (PRC) government. The conflict between market demand and governmental control foregrounds the radical potential of time-travel narratives. Across the strait, Taiwan also participated in this wave of cultural production and shared its radical imaginations. Yang Shuang-zi’s Blooming Season (2017) is the first novel that uses Japanese Taiwan as the setting for its time-travel narrative and a basis to critique pro-China ideology. Besides its political implications, the book has also aroused debates over the definition of historical fiction and the writings of history. Responding to these discussions, this current essay attempts to theorize how Blooming Season imagines a “local queer resistance” through its time-travel narrative and descriptions of everyday life. The essay argues that time-travel could be seen as a resistance to the process of dominant history-making and a potential route to queer the political and cultural histories of Taiwan. Through juxtaposing conflicting modes of spatialities and temporalities, Blooming Season problematizes the linear structure of historical narrative and develops a “Taiwanese queer narratology” different from that of the western paradigm. The essay then analyzes the novel’s detailed descriptions of female same-sex love, a.k.a. “yuri,” and argues that instead of being insignificant, these everyday details embody a local, feminine form of alliance that could potentially revise the grand narrative in Taiwanese historical writings.
Taiwanese queer narratology, Blooming Season, historical novel, Taiwan under Japanese rule, Mê-kak, queer