Jopi Nyman
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Borderscapes of Calais
Images of the ‘Jungle’ in Breach by Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes
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This chapter examines the representation of forced migration in the recent short story collection Breach (2016) by the Nigerian German writer Olumide Popoola and the Southern African author Annie Holmes. Focusing on fictional narratives telling of forced migrants travelling towards and inhabiting the originally temporary and notorious refugee camp known as the ‘Jungle’ on the outskirts of Calais, France, the collection addresses migration to Europe and Britain as part of contemporary global mobility. In addition to charactering the fictional space as a borderscape where identities are formed and negotiated, the chapter goes beyond a thematic analysis to suggest that the form of the collection, the short story composite, is a way of narrating the borderscape since it both unites the stories, functioning as the site where cultural encounters charactering its various migrant–host encounters take place, but also underlines the characters’ diverse affiliations and transforming identities, their belongings and becomings, unique to each story and individual. By challenging acts of bordering and refusing to fix the identities of the subjects narrated, Breach shows that the borderscape is full of ambiguity and precariousness, but it may also offer glimpses of a better future and a sense of community.

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Border images, border narratives

The political aesthetics of boundaries and crossings

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