Research Article

Migrancy as Trauma: Yvonne Owuor's “Weight Of Whispers”


Despite winning the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2003, Yvonne Owuor's “Weight of Whispers” has not received much critical attention. Yet this novella has great potential for understanding Eastern Africa as a cultural and political space as well as the workings of literature in capturing the fragmented realities of the post colony. Thus, I focus on the use of narrative strategies in the novella and how they are used as techniques for narrating trauma; and time and space as two key elements through which the fractured and fragmented nature of character and its subject position within the post colony are presented. I read the fragmentation of the subject in relation to the state's rupture, which in the novella is only alluded to through the mention of the shooting down of the plane carrying the two presidents. I suggest that reading “Weight of Whispers” as a fractured narrative can be productive in understanding key concerns such as migrancy, identity and truth within the context of the trauma narrative.

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