“We Don’t Have Trains in Palestine”: Tracking Transportation in Kate Jessica Raphael’s Palestinian Detective Novels

Molly Slavin


“‘We Don’t Have Trains in Palestine’: Tracking Transportation in Kate Jessica Raphael’s Palestinian Detective Novels” argues that two crime novels set in Palestine, Murder Under the Bridge (2015) and Murder Under the Fig Tree (2017), utilize metaphors and descriptions of infrastructure, travel, transportation, and mobility in order to shed light on the contemporary colonial situation of Palestine. By juxtaposing Kate Jessica Raphael’s crime writing and its attendant negotiations with the difficulties of Palestinian life and travel under Israeli occupation, these novels disrupt the kind of soothing, teleologically-minded modernity Walter Benjamin envisioned as being inherent to both train travel and reading detective novels. “Tracking Transportation” argues that Raphael’s Palestinian detective novels, by prioritizing accounts of Palestinian life marked by under-investigated crime, failings of infrastructure, and travel hardships, situate both the literature and the geographical space as part of the (post)colonial tradition and thus necessary for inclusion in larger discussions of crime fiction.


detective fiction; Palestine; Israel; postcolonialism; infrastructure

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