Fiction by writers of Muslim background forms one of the most diverse, vibrant and high-profile corpora of work being produced today - from the trail-blazing writing of Salman Rushdie and Hanif Kureishi, which challenged political and racial orthodoxies in the 1980s, to that of a new generation including Mohsin Hamid, Nadeem Aslam and Kamila Shamsie. This collection reflects the variety of those fictions. Experts in English, South Asian, and postcolonial literatures address the nature of Muslim identity: its response to political realignments since the 1980s, its tensions between religious and secular models of citizenship, and its manifestation of these tensions as conflict between generations. In considering the perceptions of Muslims, contributors also explore the roles of immigration, class, gender, and national identity, as well as the impact of 9/11.
This volume includes essays on contemporary fiction by writers of Muslim origin and non-Muslims writing about Muslims. It aims to push beyond the habitual populist 'framing' of Muslims as strangers or interlopers whose ways and beliefs are at odds with those of modernity, exposing the hide-bound, conservative assumptions that underpin such perspectives. While returning to themes that are of particular significance to diasporic Muslim cultures, such as secularism, modernity, multiculturalism and citizenship, the essays reveal that 'Muslim writing' grapples with the same big questions as serve to exercise all writers and intellectuals at the present time: How does one reconcile the impulses of the individual with the requirements of community? How can one 'belong' in the modern world? What is the role of art in making sense of chaotic contemporary experience?