Hosting the Crosser: Janette Turner Hospital’s Borderline

  • Ana Maria Manzanas-Calvo University of Salamanca, Spain


The article layers out the different vectors converging on the U.S.-Canadian border in JT Hospital’s Borderline. Hospital anatomises the space of the border as a complex site of collision between and among different narratives and laws (or the absence of them). Drawing from Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida, Julia Kristeva, and Emmanuel Levinas, the article claims that the border is the site of abjection as well as exception, the space that produces the figure of the homo sacer. At the same time, the geopolitical boundary is the stage of an act of conditional hospitality towards an unnamed immigrant woman. Through their hospitable response, however, Hospital’s protagonists turn into persecuted guests. Thus the writer shows the blurry boundaries of concepts such as refugee, host and guest, as she illustrates how the stable narration of a country is disrupted by a flexible border.

Author Biography

Ana Maria Manzanas-Calvo, University of Salamanca, Spain

Ana Mª Manzanas teaches American Literature and Culture at the University of Salamanca, Spain. Her publications incluye Occupying Space in American Literature and Culture: Social Movements, Occupation, and Empowerment (Routledge 2014),  Cities, Borders, and Spaces in Intercultural American Literature and Film (Routledge 2011), Uncertain Mirrors: Magical Realism in US Ethnic Literatures (Rodopi 2009), and Intercultural Mediations: Mimesis and Hybridity in American Literatures (LIT Verlag 2003), all of them coauthored with J. Benito. She has edited and coedited collections of essays, such as Literature and Ethnicity in the Cultural Borderlands (Rodopi 2002), and Border Transits: Literature and Culture across the Line (Rodopi 2007). With J. Benito she is general editor of the Rodopi Series “Critical Approaches to Ethnic American Literature.”