Every place is three places: Bursting seams in recent Fiction by Diane Awerbuck and Henrietta Rose-Innes

11 Jul 2016

Much attention has been paid to the pastoral, and to writing the city respectively. These preoccupations with city and country share a focus on ways of seeing, and modalities of being, that construct and are constructed by urban or rural environments. It is probable that less attention has been paid to literary spaces in which city and nature interpenetrate to form zones of instability. I locate such zones primarily in urban/rural seams which are given shape (or made shapeless) by a secondary set of binaries related to power and gender, order and chaos, linear versus narrative time, and organic versus mechanistic worldviews. I theorise my argument further through the figure of the fl?neur as construed by Baudelaire and by Walter Benjamin, and through the hybrid genre of urban pastoral. In this paper I consider such zones of instability in ?Phosphorescence? and ?The Keeper?, short stories by Diane Awerbuck (2011), and in the novel, Nineveh (2011), by Henrietta Rose-Innes.