The Journey to Death: Fictionalizing the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Khaled Hosseini’s Sea Prayer
Keywords:Refugee, Refugee narratives/literature, Civil War, Displacement, Spaces of nonarrival
This paper explores the fictional representation of the Syrian refugee crisis in Khaled Hosseini's novel Sea Prayer (2018). The novel is considered a refugee narrative, examining the question of home, displacement, and the fateful journeys of the Syrian refugees. The novel depicts the heart-wrenching experiences of the refugee community in war-torn Syrian city Homs before and after the outbreak of the civil war in the country. Evoking the tragic death of Alan Kurdi, Hosseini vividly illustrates the various dimensions of the Syrian refugee crisis, including the outbreak of the civil war in Syria and the eventual birth of refugees, their homelessness/statelessness, perilous journey to escape the persecution, xenophobic attitudes towards them, and post-war trauma. This paper draws on postcolonial refugee narratives, concept of journeys of non-arrival, memory, and trauma studies to elucidate its argument. The contention here is that the current crisis in Syria is also accounted for by analyzing the fictional refugee narratives. The unspeakable trauma is communicated through fiction, and Hosseini’s novel depicts the dangers engulfed and the hope entrusted in the refugees’ journeys.
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