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The Secret History of Las Vegas
Annalisa Oboe and Elisa Bordin

-produced violence in the form of environmental and human-rights violations, and the consequences of such violence on the protagonists’ physical, psychological, and emotional lives. Eventually, Fire and Water are revealed to be eco-terrorists, whose aim is to destroy the centre where Dr Singh works as a revenge against Nevada’s nuclear testing history. It would be a mistake, however, to consider The Secret History of Las Vegas merely as a noir in the traditional understanding of the genre. The novel in fact shares with most

in Chris Abani
Annalisa Oboe and Elisa Bordin

, problems of transcultural interaction, poverty, and the difficulties of preserving personal, familial, and cultural memories. 7 See A. Dawson, ‘Surplus city: structural adjustment, self-fashioning, and urban insurrection in Chris Abani’s Graceland ’, Interventions , 11:1 (2009) , pp. 19–20; J. Slaughter, Human Rights, Inc .; and F. Moretti, The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture (New York: Verso, 2000

in Chris Abani
Remembering and forgetting
Yvette Hutchison

this period resulted in violence and 24 South African performance and archives of memory human rights abuses from all sides. No section of society escaped these abuses’.2 Although South Africa had successfully negotiated the handover to a fully democratic government, the country was uneasy, divided, without a coherent or consensual sense of the past. This needed to be redressed, insofar as the articulation of a shared past is central to the conceptualising of an ‘imagined community’ (Anderson, 1991) and the formulation of a nation (McLeod, 2000). Alex Boraine

in South African performance and archives of memory
Abstract only

This is the first book-length critical reading of the prose works of the Nigerian, America-settled, ‘global Igbo’ writer Chris Abani. Addressing his three novels – GraceLand (2004), The Virgin of Flames (2007), and The Secret History of Las Vegas (2014) – and the two novellas Becoming Abigail (2006) and Song for Night (2007), the book Chris Abani combines an original overview of the author’s career and new insights into his works. It provides a full picture of the oeuvre of a writer who is more and more asserting his worth in the international arena, and whose work stands out for the richness of its poetic language, its complex investigation of the contemporary human experience in a variety of extreme and surprising situations, and its probing ethical gaze. Building on the notions of biopolitics, necropolitics, mediascape imagination, and the performative quality of subjectivity, this volume highlights Abani’s ability to represent the tragedies and horrors of our times while also signalling the possibility of redemption. His characters’ attempts to find ways of becoming themselves, together with a poetical writing that clashes against the violence of history and humankind, make Abani’s work a significant contribution to the contemporary debate about human rights and literature.

Anu Koivunen, Katariina Kyrölä, and Ingrid Ryberg

be used at all in some contexts. In Butler’s (2016:  25) words, undoing the binary between vulnerability and resistance is a feminist task, but ‘vulnerability cannot be the basis of group identification without strengthening paternalistic power’. She further critiques human rights discourse and legal regimes for ignoring ‘modes of political agency and resistance within so-​called vulnerable populations’, seeing them instead as in need of institutional or state protection and advocacy (Butler, 2016:  24–​5). On the other hand, feminist scholars such as Alyson Cole

in The power of vulnerability
Annalisa Oboe and Elisa Bordin

the notable exception of Daria Tunca’s in-depth examination referred to in Chapter 3 , the novella has been praised for its poetic treatment of violence and loneliness, and its more compressed and interior structure. Alexandra Schultheis Moore and Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg (2014) examine the interplay of lyric and narrative voices in the novella, in order to show how Abani deploys temporal and aesthetic constructions to respond to the limits of/implicit in normative human rights (legal instruments and official

in Chris Abani
Annalisa Oboe and Elisa Bordin

lyrical narrative, a critique of gender discrimination, a condemnation of sex trafficking, and a denunciation of the failings of human rights policies. The declared intention of the novella, however, is to try to remove any sentimentality and polemic and to stay away from numbers and statistics, because, as the author states, ‘in the end it doesn’t matter how many young women are victims of this trade. One is already one too many.’ 7 Abani always pays attention to the social contexts in which the becoming of his characters

in Chris Abani
Annalisa Oboe and Elisa Bordin

remarkably insightful right from its publication, and that interest on the part of literary scholars has given rise to a suggestive body of criticism, which includes discussions of its genre and formal features, its connections to other child soldiers narratives, allegorical postcolonial readings, trauma and gender studies readings, psychological and ethical analyses, assessments of the role of the child in literature, as well as the novella’s position in relation to current debates over human-rights-oriented approaches to literature

in Chris Abani
Annalisa Oboe and Elisa Bordin

, Dostoevsky, and Dickens to Woolf and Duras, from Baldwin, Ellison, and Morrison to Achebe and Soyinka, just to name a few) and also adds critical momentum to the contemporary debate on literature, human rights, and the future of the planet. His texts offer complex figurative representations of the performative nature of subjectivity by giving life to characters who walk the thin tightrope between survival and death in states of exception: they thus speak metaphorically to notions of biopolitics, necropolitics, and the unresolved

in Chris Abani
Abstract only
Towards ‘Conclusions’
John Kinsella

primary recognition and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and land rights, for an intense advocacy for the natural environment, for the rights of refugees and the celebration of cultural diversity, as an enactment for any whose voice is suppressed, for a resistance to violence and the arms industry, for animal and human rights. There is frequently an ongoing, shared pursuit for justice in the making of poems. Resist! is intended to be an act of advocacy for the marginalised against the often silent

in Beyond Ambiguity