Narratives of Flight and Arrival: Abu Bakr Khaal's African Titanics (2014 [2008]) and Sunjeev Sahota's The Year of the Runaways (2015)

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In considering the diverse contexts and frameworks of production and reception of texts by and about refugees and immigrants, this article compares two novels that represent different types of the migrant experience of subjectification and marginalisation: African Titanics, by Arab writer, Abu Bakr Khaal (2014), set in the present day, and The Year of the Runaways (2015), by British born Indian, Sunjeev Sahota, set in the 1970s. Identified as novels of flight and arrival respectively, and as indicative of post-2008 types of precarity, both individual and social, they generate different social imaginaries: of flight, imprisonment, and art as salvation in the first, and arrival, and tensions spanning homeland and diaspora in the second. Drawing on Judith Butler’s arguments in Precarious Life (2004) the article identifies interpretative frameworks of perception that mobilise and manage readers’ ethical and affective responses to these narratives about refugees and illegal immigrants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3-4
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPostcolonial Text
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2017



  • Refugee
  • frameworks of perception
  • immigrant novel
  • precarity
  • social imaginary
  • Abu Bakr Khaal
  • Sunjeev Sahota

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