Brand Pakistan: a reception-oriented study of Pakistani Anglophone fiction : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature at Massey University, Palmerston North, Manawatu, New Zealand | Currently unavailable until further notice.
My research considers the reception of (selected) contemporary Pakistani Anglophone fiction in the current global literary marketplace. It argues that these texts are embedded in transnational networks and structures in ways that significantly impact on their reception both in South Asia (Pakistan and India) and in “the West” (the UK and the US). The theoretical framework employed is that of literary reception studies: I argue that how fictional texts are received (as evidenced in initial book reviews) tells us a great deal about the ideological assumptions of the “interpretive communities” (in Stanley Fish’s term) that consume and promote them. I draw on the work of literary critics such as Graham Huggan, Sarah Brouillette, Sandra Ponzanesi, Ana Cristina Mendes and Lisa Lau, who consider the ways in which “Third world” or “postcolonial” literature has been commodified as a result of global publishing and consumption trends. Via the comparative analysis of initial reviews of selected Pakistani novels, I discuss the commonalities and differences between their reception in various locations. I discuss The Wandering Falcon (2011), The Golden Legend (2017) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), and the reviews of these novels published in leading literary magazines/supplements and newspapers in Pakistan, India, the UK and the US. My work involves a discussion of how Pakistani literature is branded for an international market and how this impact on “local” (South Asian) reception. I address the frequently cited concern that globally-focused Pakistani authors “sell-out” or even betray the nation and its people in their literary representations, pandering to international market demands in search of commercial success and literary recognition.