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“That hateful limit”: Narrative distancing and Palestinian subjectivity in the post-sumud fiction of Adania Shibli

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/08/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Postcolonial Writing
Issue number4
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)554-567
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date1/08/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article argues that Adania Shibli’s fiction explores the limits of individual and collective Palestinian subjectivity in order to emphasize a profound sense of estrangement from representational systems, which strikes at the heart of the redemptive function of postcolonial literature. Through concerted acts of narrative distancing in her novellas, Touch, We Are All Equally Far from Love, and Minor Detail, Shibli pushes the reader into a suspended state of jarring alienation, which results in a foregrounding of tensions between empathy and the ethics of representation. In doing so, these works of fiction become performative of a Palestinian identity that has been evacuated by the processes of postmemory in addition to continued erasure as a result of an ongoing state of coloniality and present-day injustices. The article concludes that Shibli’s fiction hails a new era of Palestinian literature, a post-sumud (steadfastness) sensibility, which is marked by unbearable fragmentation, futility, and melancholic despair.