Marginalized Memories and Multi-Layered Narratives of the Great War in Kamila Shamsie's A God in Every Stone (2014)

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Abstract

Taking Kamila Shamsie's 2014 war novel A God in Every Stone as its core case study, this article examines the development of increasingly complex, heterogeneous and inclusive understandings and memories of the Great War in the twenty-first century. It demonstrates how the novel's complex and intricate narrative, as well as its paratextual framing and much of its reception, offer a timely engagement with a range of hitherto hidden or marginalized histories, particularly in relation to the role of women and experiences of South Asian soldiers, as well as with colonial violence and anti-colonial resistance in the war's aftermath. At the same time, the novel underscores the ambivalences contained in those stories. Through this analysis, the article considers the extent to which A God in Every Stone can be seen as a 'more expansive form of commemoration [..] with the scope for multiple narratives'. The novel is also 'historically and ethically responsible', not least in its critical reflection on the purposes, practices and power structures behind longer-standing historical narratives and cultural memories of the war itself and the (imperial) past in a post-colonial global context.

Bibliographic note

Publisher Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s). Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-246
Number of pages18
JournalForum for Modern Language Studies
Volume56
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • anti-colonialism, archaeology, British Empire, Great War centenary, Kamila Shamsie, Peshawar, postcolonial memory, sepoy, South Asia