On the possibility of a Palestinian-Israeli unity in McCann’s Apeirogon

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Zainab Saeed El-Mansi


With the recent growing interest in Border Studies and Border Theory in postcolonial/colonial contexts, contextualising Palestine is timely and relevant. Palestine is the epitome of a colonial state in which borders and boundaries of all shapes and forms are infested. The de-facto colonial state in Palestine invites multi-layered conceptualisations of borders and barriers, some of which are represented in Colum McCann’s Apeirogon (2020). McCann’s novel reimagines porous and permeable Palestinian/Israeli symbolic and physical borders instead of the commonly perceived rigid ones. This border crossing literary narrative demonstrates the possibility of a unity between the Palestinian Muslims, and the Israelis through what the text deems ‘common’ grief. Evoking Bhabha’s Third Space, the novel calls for an interstitial state between the Palestinians and the Israelis transcending religious, political, and ideological schisms between both parties. Reading the novel, several questions arise; two central ones are: How far are borders violated/crossed on the Palestinian/Israeli sides? What is the role of power elite in border-making and border-erosion in this colonial context? Analysing these questions, among others, in light of Border Theory and Border Studies, my premise is to investigate how far Apeirogon proliferates power and coercion exercised against the Palestinians.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Colonial, Postcolonial, Decolonial and Neocolonial Experiences