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On the Very Edge - Bidentities in Michelle Cliff’s Fiction

On the Very Edge

Bidentities in Michelle Cliff’s Fiction

By Ian Kinane
Hardcover : 9781496855145, 160 pages, January 2025
Paperback : 9781496855152, 160 pages, January 2025
Expected to ship: 2025-01-15
Expected to ship: 2025-01-15

The first book-length study of Michelle Cliff’s entire literary corpus


On the Very Edge: Bidentities in Michelle Cliff’s Fiction uses the life and work of bisexual, biracial, and bicultural author Michelle Cliff (1946–2016) to develop an entirely new approach to intersectional cultural, race, and gender/sexuality studies that prioritizes “bi-ness” as a methodological tool. The book focuses not “simply” on bisexuality, biracialism, or biculturalism as isolated identity concepts; rather, it explores the very nature of these intersectional identity categories as configured by Cliff. The text, therefore, represents a reclamation of bi identity in Cliff’s work as a much broader cultural, and not just sexual or racial, category, arguing that Cliff’s spaces and/or stages of “bi-ness” are in themselves significant in understanding contemporary global identity politics, as well as in navigating complex and often damaging identity constructs.

Partnered with poet Adrienne Rich and “passing” as white, Michelle Cliff’s sexuality and cultural ethnicity were often invisible. Yet her acclaimed work—Abeng, No Telephone to Heaven, Bodies of Water, If I Could Write This in Fire, Free Enterprise, and others—demonstrates the intersections between bisexuality, biracialism, and biculturalism in often profound ways. Drawing on original research, interviews, diaries, editorials, and other correspondences, On the Very Edge will have far-reaching implications in the understanding of complex Caribbean identity politics and intersectional race, gender, and sexuality studies at large.