Boneyard, an original novella, accompanied by an extended essay on experimental narrative strategies in selected examples of contemporary ficton.
The following dissertation is comprised of an original novel/la Boneyard, as well as a critical exegesis exploring experimental narrative strategies. The novella works within the shifting boundaries of postmodernism. Techniques will include “contradiction, discontinuity, randomness, excess [and] short circuit” (McHale 1987:7). The work will traverse the transliterated present of the South African landscape while reaching into the recesses of (marginal) historical record in order to speak both of the postmodern culture of the present, and the interconnectivity between time and space. By examining South African authors such as André Brink, J. M. Coetzee and Ivan Vladislavić, the links of the past, the present and the future will be examined in re-orientating identity in a multicultural, mass-mediated and heteroglossic contemporary culture. The critical essay will examine these issues as well as issues of historical representation. Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated, the work which spurred my interest in the area of identity, historical discourse, memory, re-memory and forgetting, will be examined with particular emphasis of Marianna Hirsch’s term post-postmemory, a term delegated to the active remembrance of the diasporic Jewish American third-generation post-Holocaust community. The questions of memory and remembrance will be explored within the concerns of phantasmagorical amnesia and “museummania” prevalent in contemporary postmodern culture. Lastly, I will briefly reflect on my own manuscript, Boneyard, as well as the future of post-apartheid South African writing in terms of emerging genres, construction of identity via a traumatic past and the ethical implications of these endeavours.