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Migration and the Politics of Narrative Form: Realism and the Postcolonial Subject in Brick Lane

Migration and the Politics of Narrative Form: Realism and the Postcolonial Subject in Brick Lane A L I S TA I R C O R M A C K onica Ali's 2003 novel of Bangladeshi immigrants in London, Brick Lane, has been a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic. Because it is a realist narrative with a postcolonial story, it offers an excellent opportunity to examine the relationship between the formal strategies of mimetic fiction and the historical contexts of multiculturalism and immigration.1 In the chapter "Multicultural Personae" in The Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Fiction, 1950-2000, Dominic Head has investigated "the hybridized cultural forms that might be produced in an evolving, and so genuinely, multicultural Britain" (156). The novels he looks at have much in common in terms of subject I would like to acknowledge the help of Sebastian Groes--with whom I have had many conversations about London, postcolonialism, and realism--in developing this essay. 1. The term "realism" is one that cannot be used naively; it bears the burden of centuries of critical debate. What I mean should become clear as the essay progresses. For now it is enough to say that I follow Georg Lukács's formal explanation of the term. As Lukács argues in "The Ideology of Modernism," realist http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

Migration and the Politics of Narrative Form: Realism and the Postcolonial Subject in Brick Lane

Contemporary Literature , Volume 47 (4) – Feb 16, 2006

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin.
ISSN
1548-9949
Publisher site
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Abstract

A L I S TA I R C O R M A C K onica Ali's 2003 novel of Bangladeshi immigrants in London, Brick Lane, has been a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic. Because it is a realist narrative with a postcolonial story, it offers an excellent opportunity to examine the relationship between the formal strategies of mimetic fiction and the historical contexts of multiculturalism and immigration.1 In the chapter "Multicultural Personae" in The Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Fiction, 1950-2000, Dominic Head has investigated "the hybridized cultural forms that might be produced in an evolving, and so genuinely, multicultural Britain" (156). The novels he looks at have much in common in terms of subject I would like to acknowledge the help of Sebastian Groes--with whom I have had many conversations about London, postcolonialism, and realism--in developing this essay. 1. The term "realism" is one that cannot be used naively; it bears the burden of centuries of critical debate. What I mean should become clear as the essay progresses. For now it is enough to say that I follow Georg Lukács's formal explanation of the term. As Lukács argues in "The Ideology of Modernism," realist

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Feb 16, 2006

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