Disorientation: Muslim Identity in Contemporary Anglophone Literature


Focusing on British novels about the Muslim immigrant experience published after 9/11, this text examines the promise as well as the limits of ‘British Muslim’ identity as a viable form of self-representation, and the challenges – particularly for women – of reconciling non-Western religious identity with the secular policies of Western states.

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This book focuses on the struggles and strategies of the Muslim woman immigrant to Britain after 9/11, as depicted in a group of thematically-related novels published over the past decade. The book looks at the work of Monica Ali, Leila Aboulela, Fadia Faqir, Camilla Gibb, Kia Abdullah, Almas Khan and Nadeem Aslam – all of whom raise questions about the integration of the Muslim woman who has moved from a majority position in her Muslim homeland to a minority position in her adopted home in Britain (usually London). Drawing on the idea of ‘disorientation’ (a period of withdrawal, confusion and alienation experienced by the Muslim woman after arrival in the West), this book argues for a greater focus on religion as an element of immigrant identity-creation, ultimately showing that the heterogeneity of immigrant religious experience requires a new and more complex understanding of diasporic existence.

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