Metafiction Meets Migration: Art From the Archives in Rabee Jaber's Amerika
The subject of this article is Rabee Jaber’s novel Amerika (2009) recounting the migration of a group of Syro-Lebanese to the United States on the eve of the First World War. It demonstrates how metafictional techniques—ironic narrator figures, flashbacks, dream-like scenes—allow Jaber to address the fine, yet shifting, line between fiction and history in the accounts of Arab migrations to the Americas. The article explores the creative rewriting of an essential intertext for Jaber, Kafka’s Amerika (The Man Who Disappeared) and asserts that the novel’s reflective uncertainty pervades both the way that a historical past can be represented and the way that the past is presented to a contemporary Lebanese audience. The article concludes by suggesting that the contrast between the two main characters, Martā Ḥaddād and Alī Jābir, is not only indicative of distinct kinds of migration, but, more abstractly, points to contrasting ideas about reading and writing the past.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, which allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
The content of this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.