The taming of the tribal within Pakistani narratives of progress, conflict, and romance

Authored by: Uzma Abid Ansari

The Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138745520
eBook ISBN: 9781315180618
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter analyses representations of tribal identity in Pakistani anglophone works of fiction and examines how they are ‘tamed’ by reducing the complexity of their social system to a simplified image which is easily ‘othered’ by urban Pakistani and international readership. By deploying a Deleuzian conceptualisation of nomadic ‘smooth space’, the chapter critically interrogates the ways in which tribal identity is romanticised as an outsider to city life, placed at the centre of conflict as a potential militant, and pitted against ‘progressivist’ discourse. The novels that have been selected for this analysis are The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad, A Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam, A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie, and The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto.

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