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Fido: A Novel

Belinda G Acosta, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Fido is a roman à clef set in 1970s Lincoln, Nebraska. The novel tells the story of several newcomers to a fictitious neighborhood during a transformative moment in Lincoln and Nebraska history. The awkward but ultimately devoted friendship between the African American narrator and the novel’s titular character (Mexican American) is told in retrospect, and is the focal point of the novel. Fraught with cultural misunderstanding, humor, and suspicion, the friendship is ultimately reflective of the changing demographics of Nebraska during the state-sanctioned influx of Vietnamese refugees after the fall of Saigon in a program called Operation Baby Lift. Outside the narrative, the novel seeks to pique a discussion about nativism, the challenges and rewards of immigration, and how the roles of the “savior” and the “saved” take on new meaning, depending on one’s vantage point. The accompanying craft analysis, “Toward a Contemporary Approach to Semasiographic Writing,” discusses the author’s narrative choices as well as how the story will ultimately be physically rendered on the page. Influenced by writing systems referred to as ideographic, pictographic, logographic, or semasiographic (depending on the source), the author experiments with visual texts—not as mere illustration—but as counterpoint to the written text. Counterpoint in this context borrows from music, in that the visual text works independently yet is harmonically intertwined with the lettered text. The visual text (a sample of which appears in the opening pages) serves as a way for Fido to speak from the margin, offering a wider window for interpretation.

Subject Area

Creative writing|African American Studies|Black studies|Ethnic studies|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Acosta, Belinda G, "Fido: A Novel" (2017). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10607139.