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Engaging Politically from the Margin 285

focused on is the possible reflexive self-understanding of not only the

subaltern but also the colonists. Such changes might be partly

accounted for by Shamsie’s dual citizenship and her settlement in

London, which appear to have affected the ways she addresses

Pakistan’s and Britain’s domestic politics as well as their interaction.

During the period between 2009 and 2014, when the novel was

written, Shamsie was living in London. Just as London gradually

became her main residence, its landscape, politics, and history were

also combined in the novel in a way rarely seen in her other works. In

“Tri-Sub-Continental,” Shamsie claims that England and the United

States were present in her earlier fiction “only because they are the

places from which people return to Karachi or to which people go and

become cut off from home or fear becoming cut off from home” (2002:

90). In

A God in Every Stone

, however, London and Britain play an

important role.


Shamsie herself makes it very clear that, being “the

first novel I’ve written in the time I’ve been resident outside Pakistan,”

A God in Every Stone

is “as much about the UK’s history as Pakistan’s”

(2014b: 8). Furthermore, she foresees an increasingly important role

for Britain in her future writing and life, as she is “interested to see

what happens in the next decade or two now that I’m living in the UK”

(8). With her settlement in London and growing interest in British

history and politics as the nation interacts with the world, Shamsie’s

critical cosmopolitanism concerns a dynamic relation between the local

and the global that, as Delanty (2006) has argued, may hopefully

transform and redefine the self-understanding of not only the

periphery but the center.







, through Vivian’s traveling between

London and Peshawar, Shamsie represents the political and social


Several critics have noticed the importance of London and Britain in

A God in

Every Stone

, but not all are satisfied with the novel’s representation of the

transnational space. Michael Duffy, for example, claims that, “[f]or Shamsie[,]

England has always been a peripheral space where characters recoup or retreat”

(n.d.). Rajender Kaur (2014) likewise contends that Shamsie’s representation of

Britain is less detailed and thought-provoking than that of South Asia or the

Middle East.