This book takes a post-racial approach to the representation of race in contemporary British fiction, re-imagining studies of race and British literature away from concerns with specific racial groups towards a more sophisticated analysis of the contribution of a broad, post-racial British writing. Examining the work of writers from a wide range of diverse racial backgrounds, the book illustrates how contemporary British fiction, rather than merely reflecting social norms, is making a radical contribution towards the possible future of a positively multi-ethnic and post-racial Britain. This is developed by a strategic use of the realist form, which becomes a utopian device as it provides readers with a reality beyond current circumstances, yet one which is rooted within an identifiable world.
Speaking to the specific contexts of British cultural politics, and directly connecting with contemporary debates surrounding race and identity in Britain, the author engages with a wide range of both mainstream and neglected authors, including Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, Julian Barnes, John Lanchester, Alan Hollinghurst, Martin Amis, Jon McGregor, Andrea Levy, Bernardine Evaristo, Hanif Kureishi, Kazuo Ishiguro, Hari Kunzru, Nadeem Aslam, Meera Syal, Jackie Kay, Maggie Gee, and Neil Gaiman. This cutting-edge volume explores how contemporary fiction is at the centre of re-thinking how we engage with the question of race in twenty-first-century Britain.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Utopian Realism and Writing Beyond Race
Chapter 1: Utopian Histories: Retroactive Possibilities
Chapter 2: Utopian Destinies: Anti-biological Textualities
Chapter 3: Utopian Ecologies: Post-human, Post-racial
Chapter 4: Utopian Bodies: Some Kind of Blackness
Chapter 5: Utopian Difference: Making Love
Chapter 6: Utopian Failures: Pitfalls of the Post
Chapter 7: Utopian Realities: Practical Utopias
Sara Upstone is Principal Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, UK.