This article takes up a comparative reading of Zhang Chengzhi's Islamic fiction Investigation of Assassinations in the Western Province (1989) and Xiao Bai's historical thriller Blockade (2017), arguing that the two terrorism-themed novellas are constituents of world literature in the Age of Terror, an age that features crises of both history and representation. By conceiving world literature as a narrative event born out of the rupture of history, this article analyzes how two Chinese novelists, from the periphery and the center of national subjectivity, aim to act out the dubious complicity between the terrorist and the author. While Zhang's obsession with Jahriyya and extremist violence is entwined with his suspicion of the agency of narrative, Xiao Bai is inclined to consecrate the author as a divine source of explosive imagination, and to disenchant the readers' obsession with the closure of event. A universal claim based on my case study of contemporary Chinese literature thus emerges: placed in a broad continuum of post-9/11 crisis representation, these two novellas bear witness to the performative forces of world literature in rectifying the dominant national historiography and the subalternity of the dispossessed.

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