Indian Statistical Institute
May 7, 2008
Chaim Noy, NARRATIVE COMMUNITY: VOICES OF ISRAELI BACKPACKERS, Wayne State University Press, 2007
This book under review by Chaim Noy illustrates the theatrical performances of storytelling by Israeli backpackers. It is based on forty-five narrative interviews with the backpackers and those interviews are represented in a non-authoritarian quasi direct discourse. He divided his book in three parts with nine chapters.
The first part includes two chapters on the critical introduction on the ”who’s who” of the backpackers and the methodological aspects (sampling, individual non-quantitative interviews, ethnomethodology etc.) of the survey, where Noy describes his own involvement as a backpacker as well as a researcher with self-reflexivity.
The second part deals with the ”Quotations and Voices” and is divided into six chapters. In this part Noy structures his corpus collected from different domains (from the ”real” site of mountains, roads, hotels to the virtual reality of the television station) and he deals with different modes of representations. The journey begins with floating quotations and ends with the problematic question of self-transformation. This self-transformation comes as a ”comic relief” in the context of the whole theatrical representation by Noy, as he himself calls this an ”intermezzo”. Thus, this very term places the whole text within the semantic world of 18th century musical opera. Though, ”intermezzo” refers to a transitional moment in between two musical movements in the 19th century use of the term, I have stipulated the meaning of the ”comic relief” taking cue from Noy’s description of his experience of smoking marijuana (”Arriving at the Destination: No Transcendence”, pp. 24-5).
And again in the third site, the question of self-transformation is depicted with a summary of the previous chapters in the epilogue and appendix. Noy self-consciously reports the ”no transcendence” phenomenon as emancipation is an ”impossible real” in the world of cursed Sisyphus.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 7
Keywords: Quasi Direct Discourse, intermezzo, Qualitative Discourse Analysis