Uncommon Wealths in Postcolonial Fiction engages urgently with wealth, testing current assumptions of inequality in order to push beyond reductive contemporary readings of the gaping abyss between rich and poor. Shifting away from longstanding debates in postcolonial criticism focused on poverty and abjection, the book marshals fresh perspectives on material, spiritual, and cultural prosperity as found in the literatures of formerly colonized spaces.
The chapters ‘follow the money’ to illuminate postcolonial fiction’s awareness of the ambiguities of ‘wealth’, acquired under colonial capitalism and transmuted in contemporary neoliberalism. They weigh idealistic projections of individual and collective wellbeing against the stark realities of capital accumulation and excessive consumption. They remain alert to the polysemy suggested by “Uncommon Wealths,” both registering the imperial economic urge to ensure common wealth and referencing the unconventional or non-Western, the unusual, even fictitious and contrasting privately coveted and exclusively owned wealth with visions of a shared good.
Arranged into four sections centred on aesthetics, injustice, indigeneity, and cultural location, the individual chapters show how writers of postcolonial fiction, including Aravind Adiga, Amit Chau-dhuri, Anita Desai, Patricia Grace, Mohsin Hamid, Stanley Gazemba, Tomson Highway, Lebogang Matseke, Zakes Mda, Michael Ondaatje, Kim Scott, and Alexis Wright, employ prosperity and affluence as a lens through which to re-examine issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and family, the cultural value of heritage, land, and social cohesion, and such conflicting imperatives as economic growth, individual fulfilment, social and environmental responsibility, and just distribution.
Francesco Cattani, Sheila Collingwood–Whittick, Paola Della Valle, Sneja Gunew, Melissa Kennedy, Neil Lazarus, John McLeod, Eva–Maria Müller, Helga Ramsey–Kurz, Geoff Rodoreda, Sandhya Shetty, Cheryl Stobie, Helen Tiffin, Alex Nelungo Wanjala, David Waterman