According to Julia Kristeva, the refugee has
historically been seen as an archetype of marginalization
and displacement as well as a liminal "abject" other. By
utilizing Paul Gilroy's idea of "conviviality," this article
contends that Caryl Phillips' novel A Distant Shore
deconstructs these ideas and offers a different way of
reimagining the refugee figure. The mutual trust and
recognition amongst the various characters in this work
serves as another example of Phillips' sensitive balancing of
the isolation and oppression of the refugee with the potential
for multicultural conviviality.
The stereotypes of refugees, alienation, exile, passivity,
and marginalization are contested in this essay, which also
gives the refugee character agency in the postmodern
"discourse of resilience" (Ager 18). The essay claims that
Phillips used counter-narratives in the novel to deftly strike
a balance between Solomon's feeling of exclusion and the
idea of him playing a vital role in creating "convivial"
Raj Shah asserts that heterotopias are frequently (but
not always) portrayed in books as areas of opposition to
dominant ideologies, giving the characters a peek of another
way of life. This essay, however, disproves the all-toocommon fallacy about heterotopias.
Refugee, Otherness, Convivial, Alienation, Trauma, Britishness, Violence, Liminality, Race, Multiculturalism, Heterotopia, Somewhere, Nowhere.