Review of the Book “Cultural Hybridization in the Contemporary Novel” by Diana-Eugenia Panait-Ioncică

The book Cultural Hybridization in the Contemporary Novel, written by Diana Ioncică, takes a look at several aspects of cultural hybridization. The author is not an adept of the theory of postolonialism, so widespread in the nowadays cultural landscape.

She stresses the idea of plural cultural identities, meaning a combination of cultural elements. These identities are hybrid identities, which cannot be termed as Oriental or Occidental, but are to be found in-between. She mentions that the three writers studied in the book are extremely different in the relation to the parent-culture (a harmonious relation, for Michael Ondaatje, an ambiguous relation, for Kazuo Ishiguro, and a disharmonious relation, in the case of Salman Rushdie). Moreover, she says that the three writers are concerned with issues related to displacement, migrant identities, homelessness, extremely important matters in the current complicated and culturally chaotic environment.

According to the author, the best way to describe Rushdie’s novels would be as starting from the past. On the contrary, she asserts, Ishiguro’s novels are aimed towards the past (with a point of view situated in the present). She goes on to say that all the three writers share a fundamental experience – that of migration – “Rushdie was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India and moved to UK (Cambridge) in1960; Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan and emigrated to UK (Guildford) in the same year, and Ondaatje originates from Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and moved to London in 1954, and then settled in Canada in 1962 – an experience that might account for their common obsession with the history and with the past”. [1]

Moreover, the writers are united by the fact that they appeal to similar techniques when building a hybrid identity: to national identity, to art and in particular to storytelling.

According to the author, the main features of culturally hybridized texts are as follows: these texts are obsessed with questioning everything, from national identity, religion, to (official) history. They are concerned with multiplicity, dealing with plural selves and hybrid identities. They show playfulness at the level of narrative structure. Also, culturally hybridized texts demonstrate political involvement. This is done openly – in Rushdie’s novels, or indirectly – in Ishiguro’s works.    They show an obsession with history, more specifically, the relation between public and personal history and with details. They believe in the power of art.

The book is an interesting read for those passionate about literature and also for readers interested in history or trying to understand history in the making. It is a useful tool, as well, for those trying to make sense of the intricate cultural landscape of our times, as it is devoid of the all too common mixture of prejudice and politically correct language that makes so many books of this kind extremely hard to read and to enjoy.[2]




  • Ioncică, Diana. (2009). Cultural Hybridization in the Contemporary Novel. Bucharest: Uranus
  • Ioncică, Diana. (2013). Highlights of contemporary literature in English. Bucharest: Uranus
  • Ioncică, Diana (co-author). (2007). Ed. Lidia Vianu: A Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man, in The Critical Rub: To Read, To Write, Perchance To Dream, in Text in Context – Essays in Contemporary British Literature. Bucharest: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti, pp.139-149
  • Ioncică, Diana (co-author). (2007). Ed. Lidia Vianu. The Wrong Chinaman, in The Critic’s Dilemma: The Awful Daring of a Moment’s Surrender, in Text in Context – Essays in Contemporary British Literature, Bucharest: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti, pp.107-118
  • Ioncică, Diana (co-author). (2007). Ed. Lidia Vianu. Representations of the Oriental and the Occidental in Kazuo Ishiguro and Salman Rushdie’s Novels, in The Critic’s Light: The Moment after Clarity Is Night, in Text in Context – Essays in Contemporary British Literature. Bucharest: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti, pp. 135-146


Journal Articles

  • Diana-Eugenia Panait-Ioncică. (2020). Welcome to 1984. Dystopias, utopias and multiculturalism. The Proceedings of the International Conference Literature, Discourse and Multicultural Dialogue Volume no 8, 2020. Iulian Boldea (Editor) The Dialogue of the Multicultural Discourses, ISBN: 978-606-93590-3-7, Edited by: The Alpha Institute for Multicultural Studies, Tîrgu Mureș, România, Published by: Arhipelag XXI Press, pp.63-72
  • Panait-Ioncică, Diana-Eugenia. (2021). “Dream” by Mihai Eminescu – Between dream and revelation. JOURNAL OF ROMANIAN LITERARY STUDIES, Arhipelag XXI Press, Tîrgu-Mureş, România, Issue no. 24/2021, Editor: Iulian Boldea, ISSN: 2248-3004, pp. 210-216
  • Ioncică, Diana-Eugenia et al. (2014). The connection between language learning and cognitive development. The 3rd International Conference: Synergies in communication, 14-15 November 2014 , The Future of Europe, The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Editura ASE, Ed. Marina Militaru, Rodica Stanciu Capota, p.33-44, ISSN 2284-6654, ISSN-L 2284 -6654
  • Ioncică, Diana-Eugenia. (2013). Languages and the labor market – A love story?. 2nd International Conference: Synergies in communication, Rethinking education – Reshaping the world. Languages, business and communities, The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, The Faculty of International Business and Economics, Bucharest, 28-29 November 2013, ISSN 2284-6654, pp. 61-71
  • Ioncică, Diana-Eugenia. (2013). Multiculturalism, Multilingualism, Economic Development and Personal Development: An Exploratory Study. International QUEST – ASE – ISQALE Conference 2013 “Improving Standards of Quality in Language Education and Research” within the framework of the Conference series: “Languages for Specific Purposes and Teacher Development” (ISSN 2285 – 1623) Bucharest, 1 – 2 March 2013
  • Ioncică, Diana. (2010). Storytelling in ‘The Enchantress of Florence’. Languages as a Lifeskill – New Perspectives on LSP Teaching and Learning International Conference, co-organized by The Department of English and German, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies – QUEST Romania – Grundtvig LLP-Project, Bucharest, Romania, 21-22 May 2010, ISBN 978-606-505- 363-2, The Proceedings of The Languages as a Lifeskill – New Perspectives on LSP Teaching and Learning International Conference
  • Ioncică, Diana. (2009). Storytelling in Midnight’s Children. QUEST Romania, For a Better Quality of Intercultural Dialogue. Bucharest: Editura ASE, pp. 63-70, ISBN 978-606-505-245-1
  • Ioncică, Diana. (2008). The Book of Disobedience – Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. “Studia Doctoralia”, 18-19 aprilie 2008, no. 2/2008, Bucharest:  Editura Universitatii din Bucuresti, Editors: Doina Condrea Derer, Radu Toma, Miruna Bulumete, pp. 145-153, ISSN: 1843-3537
  • Ioncică, Diana. (2007). The Cost of Free Speech. Synergy, volume 3, no. 1/2007, Bucharest: ASE, ed. Georgeta Ghiga, Roxana Marinescu, pp. 103-113, 147 p., ISSN 1841-7191,
  • Ioncică, Diana. (2006). Through Loss to Revelation – Beautiful Losers and The English Patient. Synergy, volume 2, nr. 1/2006, Bucharest:  ASE, ed. Georgeta Ghiga, Tania Măgureanu, 157 pg., pp. 134-143, ISSN 18411-7191,

[1] Ioncică, Diana. (2009). Cultural Hybridization in the Contemporary Novel. Bucharest: Uranus

[2] For those wanting to read more on the subjects tackled in the book, we are enclosing a more detailed list of references of books and articles written by the author, in the hope that readers will find them helpful and enjoyable.