Imagining Home at a Snail's Pace in Shani Mootoo's Cereus Blooms at Night.
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In her novel Cereus Blooms at Night (1996), Sharni Mootoo creates characters that simultaneously inhabit both the center and margins of her text. As colonized people, the characters in Mootoo's novel find themselves dispossessed and marginalized upon their native soil. When the character, Chandin, takes on the role of an abusive colonizer in his native land, his daughter Mala is rendered doubly homeless as a result. Because the reality of home does not exist for her either culturally or personally, she must imagine and create it in alternative ways. When Chandin is killed and his narrative accordingly silenced, Mala slowly redefines what home means to her, first by moving its focus into the garden spaces and ultimately by relocating it within her own imagination and memory. Furthermore, because Mala no longer has the ability to tell her own story at the novel's end, she must rely on others to tell it for her. Thus, in the same way her home is decentralized, so too is her story, for it is the interweaving of her story, along with several others, that creates a narrative that not only lacks 'a center' but ultimately defies it.