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Postcolonial Departures

Narrative Transformations in Australian and South African Fictions

Hano Pipic

This book introduces a comparative transnational approach to Australian and South African literatures to move beyond the boundaries of the nation and to reveal a shared history of indigenous dispossession and violent repression. It engages with issues of trauma, suppression and the manifold concerns regarding the unfinished processes of reconciliation. The contemporary postcolonial fictions chosen for the text-based analysis intervene in the unfinished processes of coming to terms with the legacy of the colonial practices of the past. This book compares nationally diverse postcolonial texts with a particular interest in the parallels in their deliberate breaks with generic patterns and structures.

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The ongoing project of comparing Australian and South African contemporary fictions is an important one. The comparative reading of this book draws on the energy and ideas generated by a number of critics who suggest that both “southern spaces, and the field of post-colonial studies, undoubtedly deserve” to be placed within a comparative body of work (Darian-Smith, Gunner, and Nuttall 18).

My study has been inspired by this criticism to undertake a close and comparative reading of selected contemporary Australian and South African novels which links them in a dialogic reading across southern spaces, histories and cultures. The dialogic reading opens up lines of communication between two separate literatures and points out relationships that further the understanding of contemporary Australian and South African literary topics in a postcolonial context. The transnational parallels that are of particular concern in this book emerge out of the historical links to colonization and the ongoing processes of postcolonialism. These are contemporary fictions written out of an urgency to revisit and come to terms with the difficult histories of their nations. As postcolonial narratives they address the legacies of conquest and dispossession in settler states.

My dialogic reading of these novels sets out to explore the connections and intersections across what are in some instances very different fictions. The book aims to expose how the troubled sense of the past and the contradictions of settler existence on contested grounds are a vital context for contemporary postcolonial criticism. By focusing...

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