Beyond Persecution: Exploring Alternative Refugee Narratives in Jenny Erpenbeck

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Jessy Carton ()

Published Sep 22, 2020


In bureaucratic settings, complex refugee narratives are often converted into stereotypical accounts of persecution guided by questions asked by protection officers. This article explores potential room for improvement in these administrative dialogues on displacement through literary text analyses. I argue that literature does not only operate as a platform to contest laws and policies, but also as a powerful source of alternative modes of narration in the context of asylum and migration. This point is demonstrated in a first case study of the dialogues on refuge in the European Union embedded in Jenny Erpenbeck’s acclaimed novel Gehen, ging, gegangen (2015).

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