Some Place to Belong: Home and Homelessness in Gabriele Goldstone’s Historiographic Ethnofiction for Young Readers

Mateusz Swietlicki , University of Wroclaw (Institute of English Studies)

In her elaboration on ‘historiographic ethnofiction,’ Janice Kulyk Keefer’s uses the metaphor of writers as archeologists finding bones. This chapter argues that in the Red Stone series (2010-2022), Gabriele Goldstone, a Canadian author whose mother was a Ukraine-born Russian German, writes about ethnicity in a fashion that Kulyk Keefer defines as fundamental for this particular generic form, namely writing about ethnicity through (micro)history. The analysis of Goldstone’s novels shows that they disrupt the home-away-home plot typical of children’s and Young Adult literature and depict the protagonist’s struggles with belonging, the feeling of homelessness, as well as the guilt stemming from her position as the complexly implicated subject, which is directly linked to her “betwixt and between” identity (Rothberg 200). The novels’ focus on homelessness and the instability of home and ethnic identity of the Ukraine-born Russian German protagonist are the key elements positioning them as ‘historiographic ethnofiction.’ Thus, the chapter demonstrates that in her Red Stone series, Goldstone, a metaphorical archeologist carrying the burden of her family’s difficult history, is also a microhistorian who encourages young readers to notice and take in the forgotten story of Russian Germans and their traumatic experiences in countries which no longer exist. Finally, the chapter shows that in her novels, Goldstone showcases the complexity of history and memory and the inapparent links between the past and the present and between Europe and North America.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 220. Children as Readers and Consumers