Hosting the Crosser: Janette Turner Hospital’s Borderline


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 Julia Kristeva, Giorgio Agamben, and Emanuel 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 unconditional 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, guest, as she illustrates how the stable narration of a country is disrupted by a flexible border.

This article “Hosting the Crosser: Janette Turner Hospital’s Borderline” originally appeared in Literary History. Spec. issue of Canadian Literature 233 (Summer 2017): 71-87.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.