Login/Register

AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 8, Number 1. February 2024 Pp.159-172

The Resistance Narrative in Arabic Science Fiction: Azem’s The Book of Disappearance (2014)

Programme of English Language and Literature
The Department of English Language
College of Language Sciences
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Abstract:

This paper aims to analyze the mode of resistance narrative in Ibtisam Azem’s The Book of Disappearance (2014), which is read within the frame of Arabic Science Fiction. The study answers the following questions:(1) What are the Arabic Science Fiction tropes in Azem’s novel? (2) How does ASF subserve resistance narratives in Azem’s novel? (3)Why does Azem utilize the Dystopian Narrative for resistance narratives? The study examines the structure and themes of Azem’s The Book of Disappearance in terms of postcolonial and science fictional theories. The study’s methodology considers Kanafani’s resistance narrative, Morrison’s rememory, and Hochberg’s archival imagination in exploring the historical frame in Azem’s The Book of Disappearance. The analysis of Azem’s The Book of Disappearance interconnects the Palestinian resistance literature and the postcolonial writing to the ASF tropes and techniques. The alternative history closely examines the controversy between Israeli utopia and Palestinian dystopia. The study concludes that in Azem’s novel, the 1948 Nakba is recreated in the future through the imaginative incident of the Palestinian disappearance. As Palestinian novels often grapple with the complex question of identity in the face of displacement, occupation, and cultural pressures, Azem’s novel inspects the question of identity through a simulation of history in Alaa’s diary and through the gaze of Arial, the Israeli journalist. Azem’s novel confronts this trauma, giving voice to the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people through the Arabic Science Fiction frame of a dystopian narrative that dismantles the Zionist ideology and Israeli oppressive regime.

Cite as:

Almalki, S. B. (2024). The Resistance Narrative in Arabic Science Fiction: Azem’s The Book of Disappearance (2014). Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 8 (1): 159-172.

References:

Azem, I. (2019).  The Book of Disappearance. New York: Syracuse University Press.

Alammar, L. (2021). “Cached memories”: Spatiotemporal (Dis)ruptures and Postmemorial Absence in Palestine +100”. MOSF Journal of
Science Fiction
, 4, 2. 65-78.

AL-Nakkash, L. (2021). Within the Green Line: Paradoxes of the Lives of Palestinians within theState of Israel as Represented in Ibtestam Azim’s The Book of Disappearance and Rabai Al-           Madhoun’s Fractured Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the NakbaCairo Studies     in English2021(1), 96-118. https://doi.org/10.21608/cse.2021.204979

Aysha, E. E.-D. (2022). Exiled to the future: mental hurdles on the road towards Palestinian Science Fiction. H. A. I. Elzembely & E. E-D. Aysha (Eds.), Arab and Muslim Science Fiction:
critical essays (pp. 111-122). McFarland & Company, Inc.

Batty, N, & Markley, R. (2002). Writing Back: Speculative Fiction and the
Politics of Post-

Colonialism. Science Fiction: A Postcolonial Odyssey. Ariel, (33), 1 – 10.

Bhatia, G. (2020).  The Lost and Disappeared Voice: An Interview With Ibtisam Azem.

Strange Horizons. Available at http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/the-lost-and-disappeared-voice-an-interview-with-ibtisam-azem/

Farah, S. (2021). The Book Of Disappearance By Ibtisam Azem, Translated By Sinan Antoon.           Strange Horizons. (29). Available in http://strangehorizons.com/non            fiction/reviews/the-book-of-disappearance-by-ibtisam-azem-translated-by-sinan-antoon/

Harris, T. (2021). Vanishing Act: Review of The Book of Disappearance. Borders in

Globalization Review 3 (1), (142-43). Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Available at

https://doi.org/10.18357/bigr31202120122.

Hochberg, G. Z. (2021). Suspended Between Past and Future: Larissa Sansour’s Sci-Fi

Archaeological Archive in The Past- Future Tense. Becoming Palestine. 72 – 85.

Kanafani, G. (2022). On Zionist Literature. London: Ebb Books.

Khaleel, I. R., Hussein, Z. A.,& Al-Doory, A. H. (2020). Magical Realism In Ibtisam Azem’s

The Book Of Disappearance. PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt / Egyptology17(6), 227 – 237. Available at  https://archives.palarch.nl/index.php/jae/article/view/716

Morrison, T. (1995). The Site Of Memory. In W. Zinsser (ed.), Inventing
the Truth: The Art and 
craft of memoir (2nd ed., pp. 83 – 102).

Patton, V.K. (2008). Black Subjects Re-Forming The Past Through The Neo-Slave Narrativep
Tradition. MFS Modern Fiction Studies, 54(4), 877 – 883.
Available at https://doi.org/10.1353/mfs.0.1556

Pilpel, A. (2016). Why Are There No Israeli Utopias in Israeli Science Fiction? S. Edrei

& D. Gurevitch (eds.), Science Fiction Beyond Borders (pp.113-125). London:

Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Schneider-Mayerson, M. (2009). What Almost Was: The Politics of the Contemporary

Alternate History Novel, American Studies50 (3/4), 63–83.

Available at  http://www.jstor.org/stable/41287751

Sheetrit, A. M. (2020) Adversary as protagonist: Palestinian Fiction by Mahmoud Shukair, Hanna Ibrahim and Ibtisam Azem mediated through the perspective of Jewish Israeli characters.  Middle Eastern Literatures, 23 (1-2), 24-43. Available at

https://doi.org/10.1080/1475262X.2021.1877474

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Tumblr
Reddit
Email
StumbleUpon
Digg

Salma B. Almalki is a PhD candidate at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. She received a Master’s degree from IMSIU in 2017. She published a paper entitled “A Feminist Reading of Kizer’s Persephone Pauses.” She is interested in Arabic Science fiction studies and comparative literature. ORCID ID:  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9333-0185