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‘What happens after saying no?’ Egyptian Uprisings and Afterwords in Basma Abdel Aziz’s The Queue (2016) and Omar Robert Hamilton’s The City Always Wins (2017)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/08/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>CounterText
Issue number3
Volume4
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)192-211
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date30/08/18
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article compares two creative continuations to the 2011—13 Egyptian uprisings: Basma Abdel Aziz’s dystopian novel The Queue (2016; al-Tābour, 2013) and Omar Robert Hamilton’s semi-autobiographical fiction The City Always Wins (2017). These two novels, written in the bitter aftermath of Egypt’s spectacular twenty-first century revolts, share a morbid tonality and concomitantly sceptical outlook toward representation, despite their different generic affiliations. They nevertheless both gamble on the performative potential of creative fiction. In the context of an ostensibly failed revolution, we need to ask what kinds of reader response are evoked by literary diagnoses of the present that flirt with alexithymia (the inability to describe feeling); in other words, how a counterfuturistic afterwardly aspires to be productive. I argue that these two novels, as afterwords on a revolution, animate a tensile present that sediments a century of thwarted popular aspirations, enfolds critical temporalities, and, in the case of both novels, just resists closure. The article uses the concepts of achrony and ‘robbed time’ to define the afterwardly as creative, counter-textual provocation – skirmishes that continually reterritorialize the political and material ground.

Bibliographic note

'This is an [Author’s Original/Accepted Manuscript] of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in [Journal Title]. The Version of Record is available online at: http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/[Article DOI].'