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Infection rebellion in Bina Shah’s Before She Sleeps

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JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
DateAccepted/In press - 27 Jan 2022
DatePublished (current) - 4 Apr 2022
Original languageEnglish


In her 2018 novel Before She Sleeps Bina Shah depicts an oppressive, dystopian society. This has emerged as one consequence of an uncontrollable virus outbreak which resulted in a disproportionate ratio of men to women. In such a genderimbalanced world intimacy is commodified, allowing women some means of revolt in a misogynistic and fertility-obsessed world. Shah explores the horrifying aftermath of pandemics, identifying opportunities for the emancipation of citizens living under discriminatory policies. As the COVID-19 pandemic causes economic and human devastation across the globe, its repercussions, aside from fatalities, are clear. Entrenched in complexities surrounding employment, political liability, and stretched healthcare systems, the pandemic has challenged society to respond adequately and ethically. Although it predates coronavirus’s ravages, we argue that Bina Shah’s novel imagines apt spaces for rebellion. Both in her imaginative universe and the wider society, transformative action and liberation are identifiable in the aftermath of infection outbreaks.

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© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa
UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis

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