Of Spies and Terrorists: Australian Fiction After 9/11


  • Bruce Bennett, University of New South Wales, Australia


This article notes the powerful international impact of the attacks on the USA on 11 September 2001 and their literary aftermath. Beginning with The 9/11 Commission Report, the article considers literary responses to the events of 9/11 five or six years later by five Australian novelists. Their work ranges from fantastic satire to espionage thriller and psychological problem novel. A critical spirit informs each of these works – Andrew McGahan’s Underground (2006), Richard Flanagan’s The Unknown Terrorist (2006), Janette Turner Hospital’s Orpheus Lost (2007), Adib Khan’s Spiral Road (2007) and Adrian d’Hage’s The Beijing Conspiracy (2007). Adib Khan’s novel Spiral Road is especially interesting for its examination of the dilemmas and difficulties faced by a Muslim Australian when he returns to his homeland Bangladesh. Like the other novels considered in this article, Spiral Road explores the clashes between political events and the realities of everyday living for individuals buffeted by the cross-winds of an American tragedy. 


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Bruce Bennett, University of New South Wales, Australia

Bruce Bennett is Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales. With Edwin Thumboo from Singapore, he is co-founder of a biennial series of conferences on literatures and cultures of Australia and the Asia-Pacific. He has held visiting appointments at universities in Asia, Europe and North America. His books include Spirit in Exile (1991), An Australian Compass (1991), The Oxford Literary History of Australia (1998), Australian Short Fiction (2002) and Homing In (2006).




How to Cite

Bennett, University of New South Wales, Australia, B. (2008). Of Spies and Terrorists: Australian Fiction After 9/11. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 2(1), 10–20. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/31