Koolaids and Unreal City

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:
Koolaids and Unreal City

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This chapter shows how in both Rabih Alameddine's polyphonic Koolaids: The Art of War (1998) and Tony Hanania's memoir-like Unreal City (1999), national identity and the feeling of ‘being at home’ are determined less by political ideology and topophilia and more by an emotional reality which, strongly affected by father-son relationships, stretches beyond the definition of the nation as a homeland. It also highlights the question of how nationalism is redefined in the context of a civil war caused by, among other factors, the very absence of a collective national identity. To do so, it concentrates on the interplay of the texts' postmodern features with the themes of alcohol and drug abuse, AIDS, and political radicalism. Instead of pitting exile against the nation as diametrically opposed realities, as Edward Said and Timothy Brennan do, and privileging one over the other, this chapter argues that these two texts showcase cultural in-betweenness and view exile to be independent of geography by locating it within the individual, the nation, and the host country.

Keywords: Rabih Alameddine; Tony Hanania; Koolaids; Unreal City; exile; nationalism; AIDS; alcohol and drug abuse; political radicalism; father-son relationships

Chapter.  12562 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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