Post-9/11 Melancholic Identities: Memory, Mourning and National Consciousness

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Aroosa Kanwal


This paper discusses the ways in which Nadeem Aslam’s novels – Maps for Lost Lovers and The Wasted Vigil – highlight the need for a re-conceptualisation of immigrant identity, in post-9/11 world, by linking traumatic experiences of an individual to the collective memory of a community or nation. Taking cue from Sigmund Freud, Judith Butler, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok’s concepts of mourning and melancholia, an interface between transnational movement and mourning will be investigated in order to emphasise how private grief becomes a metaphor for public grief. With reference to Aslam’s novels (that are set against the background of post-9/11 rhetoric of war on terrorism), I discuss how an endless process of diasporic nostalgia and mourning interacts with immigrants’ efforts to deal with different ‘others’ in their adopted homelands.

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