Post-9/11 Espionage Fiction in the US and Pakistan
Spies and Fundamentalists
By Cara Cilano
To Be Published April 30th 2014 by Routledge – 192 pages
Through an analysis of a variety of US and Pakistani novels and films since 9/11 Cara Cilano focuses on how such fictions construct an understanding of history through the portrayal of two stock characters in the espionage genre: the spy and the spy’s nemesis, who, in this context, is the religious extremist or fundamentalist. Firstly, the book interrogates how US novels and films, including Mike Nichols’s film Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), David Ignatius’s novel Body of Lies (2007), and Alex Berenson’s novel The Faithful Spy (2007), refuse to historicize and expose the ideological and historiographic impulses within their narratives, while they also promote a nostalgic view of the US at the same time; second, in order to historicize and to expose the nostalgic parochialism of the US’s covert activities in these novels’ fictive universes, the book examines the recent appropriation of spy fiction conventions—including suspenseful plot structures and pacing, the themes of secrecy and betrayal, and the isolation of the protagonist—by Pakistani writers, such as Mohammed Hanif, Mohsin Hamid, Kamila Shamsie, and Nadeem Aslam; and, third, this book considers the recent emergence of spy conventions in Pakistani fiction in its own national context so as to evaluate how claims of Pakistan’s status as a 'failed state' function, especially with respect to how such a status encourages or inhibits affective attachments of whatever kind to Pakistan. .
Introduction: Reading Spies and Terrorists 1. Genre 2. Spy 3. Proxy 4. Terrorist 5. Saviors and Drones
Cara Cilano is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, USA.