Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (PhD)

Degree Level



Graduate School


Keith Booker

Committee Member

Adnan Haydar

Second Committee Member

Susan Marren


Postmodern American Novel, Postmodern Arabic novel, Postmodernism, Postmodern Saudi Novel, Saudi Novel


In the early twenty-first century, Saudi Arabia is a global economic power that stands as an equal among the other members of the most powerful economic organizations, including as the Group of Twenty and The World Trade Organization. As a result of this economic status and of Saudi Arabia never having been colonized, recent Saudi novels (especially those published after 2001) can usefully be read postmodern, rather than as postcolonial—the usual paradigm in readings of contemporary Arab novels. To establish a reference point, a comparative approach that engages Saudi and American postmodern novels is applied in this dissertation through the critical lens of Fredric Jameson’s theory of postmodernism. I rely on the postmodern features which are listed in M. Keith Booker’s Monsters, Mushroom Clouds, and The Cold War: American Science Fiction and The Roots of Postmodernism, 1946-1964. Girls of Riyadh by Rajā al-Sani', Throwing Sparks by Abdo Khal, and Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart share postmodern features such as schizophrenia, fragmentation, and suspicion toward grand narratives, which demonstrate instability of personality. Weak historical thinking permeates The Dove's Necklace by Raja Alem, Life on Hold by Fahd al-Atiq, and No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. The resulting effect of late capitalism, a weak utopian imagination, shapes the outcomes of Where Pigeons Don't Fly by Yousef al-Mohaimeed, Days of Ignorance by Laila al-Johani, and City of Glass by Paul Auster. Although the project of modernization has not yet been fully completed in Saudi Arabia, the expression of postmodern characteristics is clear in twenty-first century Saudi novels, as might be expected due to Saudi Arabia’s economic positioning in the late capitalist model.