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particular on her book-length non-fiction

Offence: The Muslim Case

(2009) and two recent novels,

Burnt Shadows

(2009) and

A God in

Every Stone

(2014). I am fully aware of the differences between fiction

and non-fiction in terms of formal elements, yet the three books are

read together in this essay because they mark two significant temporal

points in Shamsie’s life, 9/11 and her acquisition of British citizenship.

Unlike Rebecca L. Walkowitz, who, in

Cosmopolitan Style

, “treat[s]

literary style politically” (2006: 6), I focus attention on contextualizing

the aforementioned three books and reading them against Shamsie’s

earlier works in order to chart Shamsie’s progression from an activist

writer of domestic issues to her fusion of local and global politics in the

post-9/11 era. My approach to these works is therefore more holistic

and biographical than analytical or stylistic.


Bringing to the fore the impact of international events,

immigration, and national allegiance on Shamsie’s political

engagement, I investigate in particular the ways that





, and

A God in Every Stone

deal with political issues of

terrorism, nationalism, imperialism, and gender politics, and the

impact of each on personal lives. Over the last two decades of the 20th

century, these issues have been under serious discussion in

globalization studies, transnationalism, diaspora, postcolonial and

feminist discourses. Critical cosmopolitanism, which I argue is present

in Shamsie’s works, is conceived in relation to concepts popular in

these scholarly discourses, yet it simultaneously complicates, challenges,

and at times even brings them into conflict. If a cosmopolitan is a

person who is, in a more or less utopian sense, a citizen of the world,

Shamsie is a critical cosmopolitan who, rather than celebrate the

borderless world and diversity under globalization, creatively

intervenes from the margin as a Pakistani, a Muslim, a woman, and a


An analytical approach is adopted, for example, in

Cosmopolitan Style

, in which

Walkowitz discusses modernist writers’ critical cosmopolitanism through

analyzing their literary styles and narrative strategies, including “wandering

consciousness, paratactic syntax, recursive plotting, collage, and portmanteau

language” (2006: 2).