Contemporary Pakistani Fiction in English
Idea, Nation, State
Routledge – 2013 – 266 pages
Looking at a wide selection of Pakistani novels in English, this book explores how literary texts imaginatively probe the past, convey the present, and project a future in terms that facilitate a sense of collective belonging. The novels discussed cover a range of historical movements and developments, including pre-20th century Islamic history, the 1947 partition, the 1971 Pakistani war, the Zia years, and post-9/11 Pakistan, as well as pervasive themes, including ethnonationalist tensions, the zamindari system, and conspiracy thinking.
The book offers a range of representations of how and whether collective belonging takes shape, and illustrates how the Pakistani novel in English, often overshadowed by the proliferation of the Indian novel in English, complements Pakistani multi-lingual literary imaginaries by presenting alternatives to standard versions of history and by highlighting the issues English-language literary production bring to the fore in a broader Pakistani context. It goes on to look at the literary devices and themes used to portray idea, nation and state as a foundation for collective belonging. The book illustrates the distinct contributions the Pakistani novel in English makes to the larger fields of postcolonial and South Asian literary and cultural studies.
Introduction Part 1: Idea to Nation 1. 1947 2. 1971 Part 2: Islamic Nation? Islamic State? 3. Islam before Pakistan 4. Zia’s Islamization Part 3: Multicultural Nation Privileged State 5. Karachi 6. The Zamindari System Part 4: Failed State, Nation in Crisis 7. 9/11
Cara Cilano is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA. She is the author of National Identities in Pakistan: The 1971 war in contemporary Pakistani fiction (Routledge 2010).