The sovereign State system relies on the idea that all the territory of the world is divided into separate spaces, which are controlled by distinct sovereign governments that make and enforce laws in those territories (Agnew and Corbridge 1995; Jones 2012). In this fashion, Reece Jones claims that those individuals who defy the national demarcations through cross-border movement can be approached as resistant subjects who “disrupt the clean, territorially based identity categories of the State by evading State surveillance systems and creating alternative networks of connection outside State territoriality” (Jones 689). In this article, I will analyse the short story “The Smuggled Person’s Tale” (2017), written by Jackie Kay and included in the short story collection Refugee Tales II (2017). This narrative portrays a literary voice of a refugee who, in the need for leaving Afghanistan because of political and social conflicts, defies the sovereign State system by avoiding territorial entrapment through a constant border-crossing. His journey across nations allows him to break the national borders’ dichotomies (in-out / native-immigrant / citizen-exile) (Bhabha 1994; Rojas 2006; Jones 2012; Konrad 2015), thus achieving a nomadic consciousness and reclaiming his right to redefine himself as a global citizen.

In the context of the “transnational turn” in Australian literary studies, I consider the dynamics of writing and reading by and around Aboriginal literature. Positioning of authors, books and readings across, through and beyond nation spaces has particular challenges for Indigenous writers who locate identity on “country”, with reception determined largely by a national framing. Informed by work from Lynda Ng, Chadwick Allen and others, the article examines the transnational movements of and around the fiction of Tara June Winch.

Seventy years after the subcontinent went under the blade of History to suffer the Partition, a sensitive poet, lyricist, short story writer and filmmaker like Gulzar feels compelled to write a novel on the same subject. Partition Literature has had a long tradition, in various genres, and Gulzar himself has authored a number of poetic and non-fiction writings on the Partition. Yet, the subject remains beyond artistic representation, and once again the pain and suffering of millions as a repercussion of the event force the literary artists to arrest and assess the problematic with new perspectives. In Two, Gulzar takes up the historical event as a subject of his fictional art and depicts History as a protagonist still actively working on it without becoming history. The present paper attempts an analysis of the novel Two as a Partition novel, and the author’s treatment of History in relation to the individuals victimised in its course.

This essay seeks to understand how J. M. Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country elaborates a response to the suffering body through linguistic indeterminacy, including its formal and structural presentation of numbered and often contradictory passages and through the liminality of the narrator Magda’s consciousness. Grounding the paper on the possibility that In the Heart of the Country functions through its lacunae, I argue that Magda rewrites the oppressive language she has inherited by pointing to realities words cannot grasp, including the irreducible witness of the body in pain. The body stands as an incontrovertible presence just outside the reach of language, where, in its refusal to be codified, it catalyses new, transgressive attempts at speaking. Such attempts function as a body-speech that could transform the speaking-about of Magda’s monologue into the speaking-to of reciprocity. It is a language that Magda, however, ultimately fails to articulate. She remains suspended in potentiality, reading the signals “in conformations of face and hands” that communicate, incompletely, the mysteries of another’s being. But perhaps the act of speaking to another must always remain poised on the brink of failure: response to the unknown of another’s being requires an unrecorded grammar. Thus, in the lacunae of his unfixed text, Coetzee offers a linguistic event as response to actual suffering.

Download all Articles