n English in Africa - South African identities on the edge : Lauren Beukes's

Volume 42, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



This article explores the representation of identity in Lauren Beukes's dystopian novel, (2008). We follow the work of various critics and argue that the text presents identity as fractured, riven and characterized by sharp edges. The edges in question refer to the boundaries of personal, corporeal, national and corporate identity. These edges may be considered symptomatic of the individual and social demands placed on subjectivities in a post-transitional society, with the result that they are robbed of agency. Each character inhabits a different form of ontological liminality, partaking of multiple forms of subjectivity at the same time. Finally, the novel portrays a dangerous excess in post-apartheid South African identities, which leads some characters to fatal confusion between real and virtual subjectivities and opens them to manipulation by sinister social forces.

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