“The Buried Past”: Childhood Trauma in Nadia Hashimi’s Sparks Like Stars

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Engy Ashour Esmail Torky


[U]ntold histories live in shadow graves. (Hashimi 8)

It may indeed be questioned whether we have any memories at all from our childhood: memories relating to our childhood may be all that we possess. (Freud 322)

The present paper aims at revisiting the notion of childhood trauma and its inescapable repercussions on the future life of the traumatized subject via reading profoundly Sparks Like Stars (2021) by the AfghanAmerican writer Nadia Hashimi. Being a native of Afghanistan which has always been associated with fanaticism, terror and warefare, Hashimi attempts in her novel to engage the reader in the sufferings of Sitara Zamani–the daughter of the chief adviser of the exiled Afghan president Sarder Daoud and the only surviving member of the ruling family after the pro-Communist coup in 1979–who has escaped from the harrowing incidents in her country to the United States of America. After spending many years in the United States, Zamani suddenly discovers that she has not succeeded in burying her past traumatic memories; particularly after the events of 9/11 and the United States’s ceaseless attacks on Afghanistan. The paper offers deep insight into Zamani’s relentless quest for healing from her buried sorrows by coming to terms with her painful past.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Colonial, Postcolonial, Decolonial and Neocolonial Experiences