Full Title:Memory, Mobility, and Material Culture
Edition:1st edition
eBook ISBN9781003112457
Formats:Hardback, ebook
Publisher:Routledge (18/11/2022)
Things in the Wake of the Arandora Star:By Derek Duncan
Andrew O’Hagan’s Personality (2003) follows the career of Maria Tambini, a young Scots Italian singing star of the 1970s, setting it in the distant, yet potent wake of the Arandora Star, torpedoed by a U-Boat in 1940. The novel primarily deals with the corrosive effects of media culture, taking its inspiration from the life of Lena Zavaroni whose showbusiness career was blighted by serious eating disorders. The sinking of the Arandora Star, carrying interned Italian men to Canada, has been a defining, traumatic episode in the history of the Scots Italian community. The effects of the disaster do not dissipate and are imprinted on the Tambini family; Maria’s grandmother was (counterfactually) aboard the vessel when it sank. The loss of her young daughter on the ship remains a barely acknowledged family tragedy and secret. The unexpected appearance of an unclaimed suitcase nearly 40 years after the sinking is the material conduit for memory. Drawing on the work of Hirsch on intergenerational postmemory and of Cvetkovich on the informal archives of affect, I suggest that in O’Hagan’s novel, things host the remains of missing persons until they are ready, but only in part, to materialise.