Ecstasies of the (Un)Loved: The Lesbian Utopianism of Hiromi Goto’s The Kappa Child


Hiromi Goto’s The Kappa Child tills the fertile ground between Asian Canadian immigrant experience, same-sex desire, and the search for utopian space. The novel’s transformations are catalyzed by the Japanese kappa, an amphibious water sprite and guiding spirit behind the narrator’s journey from Japan to the arid landscape of Southern Alberta. Domestic abuse and a severe lack of self-esteem characterize her troubled childhood.

This article argues for greater awareness of minority lesbian experiences. It analyzes how traditional immigrant families often pose unique struggles for LGBT children and youth. Homophobia, with its fear, shame, and ostracism, is a form of domestic violence felt acutely by many such individuals. The narrator’s reconciliation with her past is a “homotopian” dream, fantastic and yet real; it encompasses alternative kinships with women-lovers, mothers, sisters, and gay-positive friends. The text dissects the changing dynamics of Asian Canadian families and critiques those resistant to negotiation, acceptance, and unconditional love.

This article “Ecstasies of the (Un)Loved: The Lesbian Utopianism of Hiromi Goto’s The Kappa Child” originally appeared in Queerly Canadian. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 205 (Summer 2010): 13-31.

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