The Narrative Voice In Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Desertion
This study critically analyses the narrative voices in Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Desertion (2005). I have explored the use of multiple narrative voices by Gurnah, and whether or not these voices have an impact on the narrative structure of the novel. The narrative voice is an important feature of style in literature since it is through it that information is relayed to the audience. This means that a reader’s perception of events in a novel is influenced by the voice that is involved in the telling and retelling of these events. The analysis of the narrative voices in Desertion has been achieved by the use of two main theoretical frameworks: narratology, which focuses on the study of the narrative and the narrative structure in a work of art, and aspects of the postcolonial theory, particularly the travel and cosmopolitanism strands, that address the movement and relocation of people in search of an education or employment or as a result of displacement. The study notes that there is a close connection between the narrative voice and the narrative structure in that the voice affects the structure. This is the case especially in Desertion since the narrative voices that are manifested in the novel determine the direction and the way the structure of the novel is. For instance, the novel begins in the third person narrative voice and later introduces the first person narrative voice. Both these voices are distinct and serve to introduce the characters in the novel while at the same time reveal the thematic areas of concern of the author. The first person narrative voices reveal the individual experiences that are shaped by the community while the third person narrative voice gives the collective experiences of the community members. Therefore, the narrative voices in Desertion determine the narrative structure in the novel which in turn enhances the content.