Direction can function as a shorthand for power relations or hierarchies: North versus South, East versus West. But such forms of ordering are often unstable and change depending on place or scale. The relationship between the global North and South is not always the same as that between a national north and south. Sunjeev Sahota's The Year of the Runaways (2015) adds another layer of complexity to this problematic binary by bringing its characters from the north of India in the global South to the north of England in the global North. This essay asks how the multiple kinds of northness signaled in the novel transform the idea of the North from a cardinal direction to a shifting, indexical sign. In doing so, it shows how critical attention to northness enables a reimagining of the global South.


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pp. 71-93
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