Imagining Breath, Imagining 9/11 in Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People

Arthur Rose

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Indra Sinha's Animal's People examines the aftermath of a Bhopal-like event in the fictional city of Khaufpur. Often read as an allegory for postcolonial toxic entanglement, Animal's People responds to 9/11, both explicitly as a media event and implicitly through a critical engagement with Islamophobic tropes. These moments appear to confirm the tendency of Michael Rothberg's" centrifugal literature of extraterritoriality," whereby the impact of 9/11 is absorbed in the wider ambit of World Literature. In this essay, I argue that, while this may indeed be understood to be dominant in Sinha's narrative, there is an alternative, subversive reading of the novel that highlights other, less hierarchical means of comparison. By reading the novel's reflections on breath in relation to breath appearance in 9/11 criticism and poetry, I suggest a route into the postcolonial 9/11 novel that avoids centering either the USA or the postcolonial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-85
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in the Novel
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Part of this work was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council project “Scenes of Shame and Stigma in Covid-19” (grant number: AH/V013483/1).


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