Relations of difference: Asianness, Indigeneity and Whiteness in Simone Lazaroo's fiction
I ssues of representation have been central to critical discussions regarding a contemporary politics of difference. As Monika Kin Gagnon notes, ‘at issue is visibility, visuality, and power, and what is often referred to as a politics of knowledge; it problematises who defines and who determines cultural value’ (23). Simone Lazaroo’s fiction brings to visibility issues of representation, especially the way race and gender are intertwined as artificial constructions of difference within Australian cultural and historical discourse. This article examines how Lazaroo’s novels engage in a triangulated contemporary representational politics through an articulation of ‘relations of difference’ in which characters of Asian, Aboriginal and Anglo ancestry interact and react to racialised and gendered inscriptions of otherness. This essay therefore explores how Lazaroo criticises the hyper-visuality and sexualising of the Asian female body by the dominant white, Anglo-Australian society and the concomitant erasure of the Indigenous body and culture in stories of nation in The World Waiting to Be Made (1994), The Australian Fiancé (2000), and The Travel Writer (2006). These works signal Lazaroo’s ongoing interrogation of the politics of both relations of difference and looking relations.