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Hollinger’s concept of ‘postethnicity’ originates in the US context and will be adapted here to capture the intense play with the interrogation, transformation and construction of ethnicity that characterizes novels by Hanif Kureishi, Zadie Smith, Helen Oyeyemi, Kit De Waal, Diran Adebayo, and Diana Evans; the concept also serves to analyse BAME-authored texts that seek to evade unambiguous ethnic markers altogether. These strategies undercut and resist the recurrent expectation for black and Asian writers to construct protagonists of unambiguous ethnicity. In the wake of a threatened return to materiality, these novels are a radical statement on the contemporary state of ethnicity and a strategy for widening the aesthetic and thematic scope available to black and Asian British literary production.
Postmodernism Literature and Race explores the question of how dramatic shifts in conceptions of race in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have been addressed by writers at the cutting edge of equally dramatic transformations of literary form. An opening section engages with the broad question of how the geographical and political positioning of experimental writing informs its contribution to racial discourses, while later segments focus on central critical domains within this field: race and performativity, race and the contemporary nation, and postracial futures. With essays on a wide range of contemporary writers, including Bernadine Evaristo, Alasdair Gray, Jhumpa Lahiri, Andrea Levy, and Don DeLillo, this volume makes an important contribution to our understanding of the politics and aesthetics of contemporary writing.
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