Trauma and Fictions of the
1st Edition

Trauma and Fictions of the "War on Terror"
Disrupting Memory

ISBN 9780367443030
Published May 19, 2021 by Routledge
194 Pages

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Book Description

This book explores the ways in which transnational fiction in the post-9/11 era can intervene in discourse surrounding the "war on terror" to advocate for marginalised perspectives. Trauma and Fictions of the "War on Terror" conceptualises global political discourse about the "war on terror" as incongruous, with transnational memory frames instituted in Western nations centralising 9/11 as uniquely traumatic, excluding the historical and present-day experiences of Afghans under Western—specifically American—hegemonic violence. Recent developments in trauma studies explain how dominant Western trauma theory participates in this exclusion, failing to account for the ongoing suffering common to non-Western, colonial, and postcolonial contexts. O’Brien explores how Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner), Nadeem Aslam (The Wasted Vigil, The Blind Man’s Garden), and Kamila Shamsie (Burnt Shadows) represent marginalised perspectives in the context of the "war on terror".


Table of Contents


Chapter One: Translating Trauma in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner

Chapter Two: Shared Graves: Empire and Trauma in Nadeem Aslam’s The Wasted Vigil

Chapter Three: Haunted Communities: Tracing the Ghosts of the ‘war on terror’ in Nadeem Aslam’s The Blind Man’s Garden

Chapter Four: Spectres of Empire in Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows


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Sarah O’Brien (PhD) completed her doctoral work at Maynooth University, Ireland, in 2019. Her research areas relate to trauma, memory, south Asian fictions of the "war on terror," and postcolonial and world literatures more broadly.


"Trauma and Fictions of the ‘War on Terror’: Disrupting Memory lucidly and urgently sheds light on multiple processes and forms of marginalisation in the transnational post-9/11 trauma context. Sarah O’Brien’s important book affirms the role of postcolonial literary interventions and imaginative geographies in bringing attention to invisible and less visible experiences of violence. This study enlarges and transforms our understanding of Afghanistan’s haunted and haunting histories in a global context by presenting incisive readings of the ethics and politics of representation of trauma in Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner), Nadeem Aslam (The Wasted Vigil, The Blind Man’s Garden) and Kamila Shamsie (Burnt Shadows)." Dr Rita Sakr, Maynooth University, Ireland.

"This book destabilizes our traditional notions of hegemonic post-9/11 narratives by offering new insight into the traumas inflicted by U.S. imperial power on civilians and its increasing pursuit of the ‘war on terror.’ Most importantly, through counter-narratives written by marginalised voices, the author’s provocative arguments situate new and insightful discussions on U.S. imperial rule not encountered since Anne McClintock’s Imperial Leather." Shane A. McCoy, Lecturer, Department of English at Middle Tennessee State University, USA