<i>Cockroach</i> and <i>A Good Land</i>

Syrine Hout

in Post-War Anglophone Lebanese Fiction

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780748643424
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748676569 | DOI:
Cockroach and A Good Land

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This final chapter contrasts Rawi Hage's Cockroach (2008) and Nada Awar Jarrar's A Good Land (2009). The unnamed Lebanese protagonist in Montreal is neither exilic in the sense of wishing to return home nor a travelling immigrant with a homing desire. Unlike the other first-person narratives, the story of this man's war-wasted childhood and adolescence is based on a personal trauma and delivered against his will to a therapist appointed by the Canadian immigration authorities. Lebanon, never mentioned and to which no return is possible, is a haunting memory triggered in flashbacks in a cold place in which there is no possibility for self-renewal. A Good Land, by contrast, is a realist narrative of nostos, the repatriation of a young woman who had been forced to leave for Australia during the war as a teenager but is now determined to re-establish what she had lost. Its characters, belonging to multiple generations yet having all spent years abroad for personal or war-related reasons, retell different periods of Lebanese history before they all meet in post-war Beirut. Lebanon feels only like home for former immigrants-turned-repatriates if life therein is sustained by love and friendship among kindred souls.

Keywords: Rawi Hage; Nada Awar Jarrar; Cockroach; A Good Land; exile; repatriation; trauma; Lebanese history; post-war Beirut

Chapter.  16795 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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