Where is Palestine in Caryl Phillips’s The Nature of Blood?


This article examines the theoretical/critical and literary silence on Palestine as represented by Caryl Phillips’s novel, The Nature of Blood. It is argued that the silence on Palestine is simultaneously political, historical, geographical and imaginative. In his novel, Phillips provides a framework of Jewish suffering and persecution in an anti-Semitic Europe which culminates in the Holocaust in order to justify the establishment of a Jewish homeland. The criticism Phillips directs at Israel has to do with Israel’s racism against black Jews. Phillips, who is ironically identified as a postcolonial writer, ignores the fact that Israel is also a colonial entity, which was established based on the belief that Israel would be an ethnically pure homeland for the Jewish people. Phillips’s inability or unwillingness to understand this basic given leads to his intentional erasure of a whole people, the Palestinians and their cause, a criticism that can also be leveled against trauma and postcolonial studies.


Ahlam Masri, Tahrir Hamdi



Caryl Phillips, Palestine, postcolonial, silence, trauma, Zionism