The paper looks at seven novels by women published since 2000, and asks in what ways they reconfigure realism and the social text of the recent Nigerian past. Their authors are engaged in a lively dialogue with their literary precursors, male and female, using their interpretation of the past. Though realism is their preferred mode, it is a realism that bears the trace of pre-existing non-realist modes of expression and belief. By reclaiming the traditionally negative icon of the abiku child, they effect a retrieval of the feminine repressed, casting the feminine double as shadow or negative to the paradigmatic male protagonist of Nigerian fiction and reinserting it into the postcolonial national narrative. Like one of the protagonists, these novels ask the urgent question: “What was the country I loved? The country I would fight for? Should it have borders?”


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pp. 49-67
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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