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Market Aesthetics

The Purchase of the Past in Caribbean Diasporic Fiction
Elena Machado Sáez

BUY Cloth · 264 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813937045 · $65.00 · Mar 2015
BUY Paper · 264 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813937052 · $29.50 · Mar 2015
BUY Ebook · 264 pp. · ISBN 9780813937069 · $29.50 · Mar 2015

In Market Aesthetics, Elena Machado Sáez explores the popularity of Caribbean diasporic writing within an interdisciplinary, comparative, and pan-ethnic framework. She contests established readings of authors such as Junot Díaz, Julia Alvarez, Edwidge Danticat, and Robert Antoni while showcasing the work of emerging writers such as David Chariandy, Marlon James, and Monique Roffey. By reading these writers as part of a transnational literary trend rather than within isolated national ethnic traditions, the author is able to show how this fiction adopts market aesthetics to engage the mixed blessings of multiculturalism and globalization via the themes of gender and sexuality.


Through careful attention to reviews, press coverage, blogs, interviews, and other paratextual sources, Machado Sáez offers a nuanced account of the literary marketplace and the readerly desires that have shaped the authors’ self-conscious crafting of their historical fictions. The breadth of the author’s scope is impressive, as the book touches on the diasporic experiences of Caribbean expatriate writers in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Jeff Karem, Cleveland State University, author of The Purloined Islands: Caribbean-U.S. Crosscurrents in Literature and Culture, 1880-1959

In her impeccably argued and theoretically complex, yet accessible, introduction, Machado Sáez offers a rich discussion of the intersections between the rise of various forms of multiculturalism following the civil rights movements of the 1960s and the dangerous tendency to decontextualize ethnic literature under the umbrella of globalization.... Machado Sáez’s conclusion stuns with a remarkable analysis of the perils and possibilities of reader-response criticism in the digital age.... Machado Sáez’s Market Aesthetics draws attention to the reasons, possibilities, and limitations inherent in the rise of historical fiction in Caribbean diasporic literature and offers a richly contextualized discussion of the effect of multicultural debates and a globalizing market on the production and consumption of literature.

Marion Christina Rohrleitner · MELUS

Elena Machado Sáez’s Market Aesthetics is a carefully crafted study that examines the ethics and intimacies in Caribbean diasporic historical fiction as it represents diasporas to the United States, Canada, and Britain.... The nimble critiques throughout Market Aesthetics demonstrate an intellectually rigorous project.... Market Aesthetics is a powerful study, affirming the importance of reading the textual and market contradictions of Caribbean diasporic historical fiction.

Caribbean Studies

In Market Aesthetics, Machado Sáez makes a valuable and original contribution to the field of Caribbean diasporic literature with her superb analysis not only of the fiction itself but also of its global contexts, its ethics of writing production and reading strategies, and its paratexts, as exemplified by her concluding chapter’s exploration of digital receptions’ impact on Caribbean historical writing. The scope of the work is impressive, as is the insistent call that underlies all the readings, for us to be attentive to our ethical sensibilities and obligations as scholars and readers of Caribbean historical fiction.

College Literature

Throughout the book, Sáez attentively draws on the critical reception and market success of the works to understand how texts reach certain audiences. Due to this approach, Sáez’s research offers a critical insight into the role of the market in Caribbean diasporic literature, particularly regarding the tension between an author’s ethical commitment to historical revision and the market’s pressure to commodify a certain kind of multiculturalism. Sáez has a keen understanding of the relationship between the market, readerships, and the aesthetics of texts... Sáez’s work offers an innovative contribution to the study of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Caribbean diasporic literature. Her study presents both a fresh perspective on canonical texts and an analysis of texts not widely discussed.


Machado Saez's arguments are insightful and complex... [She] draws incisive, macro-level conclusions about Carribean diasporic historical fiction

ARIEL (A Review of International English Literatures)

About the Author(s): 

Elena Machado Sáez, Associate Professor of English at Florida Atlantic University, is coauthor with Raphael Dalleo of The Latino/a Canon and the Emergence of Post-Sixties Literature.

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