Shifting Perspectives of Postcolonialism in 21st Century Anglophone-Arab Fiction explores the flourishing Anglophone Arab fiction after 9/11. Central to this expansion are the socio-political changes in the aftermath of the 9/11attacks, not only on the international scene, but also at the local level within the Arab/Muslim world. Paralleling this expansion is a shift from traditional postcolonial discourse toward Arab nation’s internal issues. Rather than echoing the outmoded “writing back” paradigm, the Arab-Anglo writers have taken up specific social and political concerns through their writings and offer a trenchant commentary on issues of indigenous and international significance. Moving away from postcolonial political awareness, Arab-Anglo writers provide a critical perspective on some important contemporary issues facing the Arab nations like misuse of religious discourse, sectarianism, terrorism, feminism, class struggle, political rights and democracy, and the fragmentation of the Arab society.
Majed Alenezi is assistant professor in the department of languages and translation at Northern Border University.
Chapter One: A Dystopian Community and the Fragmented Identity in the Arab World in Saleem Haddad’s Guapa
Chapter Two: Critique of Religious Discourse: Terrorism and Extremism in Fadia Faqir’s Willow Trees Don’t Weep
Chapter Three: The Representation of Arab Women: Woman and Patriarchy in Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman
Chapter Four: The Arab Spring: Causes, Representation, and Aftermath of the Arab Spring in Yasmine El Rashidi’s Chronicle of a Last Summer
About the Author
Alenezi’s book is one of the first studies to tackle the contemporary Anglophone Arab fiction. The book is an in-depth engagement with four contemporary Anglophone Arab novels, offering a challenging new direction for the study of Anglophone Arab narrative. Deploying postcolonial theory, the author highlights engagements of Anglophone Arab novelists with crucial postcolonial issues pertaining to religionism, sectarianism, terrorism and feminism. The book locates Anglophone Arab novel in the mainstream of world literature, and establishes it in the literary world of postcolonial studies. Challenging many essential premises of postcolonial Arab studies, the book is an ideal companion for students and scholars of the postcolonial Anglophone Arab fiction.
Majed Alenezi provocatively challenges postcolonial paradigms and focuses much needed attention on contemporary Anglophone Arab writers. Through nuanced analysis of four recent novels, he deftly illustrates how contemporary writers are crafting novels in English to engage social issues that shape daily life in the Arab world. Confronting complex issues from gender equality to political participation to uses of religious discourse, his timely study invites readers to consider how centering Anglophone Arab writing can reshape postcolonial thinking.
In this pioneering study Majed Alenezi advances the refreshing and compelling argument that after 9/11 we see in Arab Anglophone fiction a turn away from primarily colonial/postcolonial concerns toward local, indigenous issues in Arab contemporary societies, such as the status of marginalized sexualities, the on-going struggle for women’s rights, pervasive and recalcitrant authoritarianism, endemic corruption, massive unemployment among the young, environmental degradation, sectarianism, and Islamic extremism. Alenezi proposes that we learn from and move beyond postcolonial theory, suggesting that it “fails significantly to root out the inferiority complex established through colonial discourse,” and does not adequately account for present realities, particularly the fundamental role Islam plays in Arab countries. Engaging and illuminating are Alenezi’s discussions of a selection of marvelous novels by Arab writers in English that have not yet received the attention they deserve: Saleem Haddad’s Guapa, Fadia Faqir’s Willow Trees Don’t Weep, Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, and Yasmine El Rashidi’s Chronicles of a Last Summer. The discussion of this last work, by El Rashidi, focuses on the Arab Spring, a movement arising from smoldering discontent with local regimes more than from resistance to neocolonialist intrusions. Hopes for change surged, then were dashed. These revolutionary impulses, unfortunately, have resulted in negligible social or political reform. Rather, we have seen a return to oppression, gloom, and stagnation.
Readers of Alenezi’s book will come away with a greater understanding of the complex dynamics at work in contemporary Arab societies, fresh ideas on relations between East and West, and a wish to read the works of fiction introduced and discussed.