Sunil Yapa’s Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist: Protest, Fiction and the Ethics of Care

  • Isabel Alonso-Breto University of Barcelona
Keywords: Sunil Yapa, social protest, Ethics of Care, protest fiction, World Bank Literature


Sunil Yapa’s politically engaged first novel vindicates the massive pacific protests that occurred during five days in Seattle in November-December 1999. These protests were summoned against the World Trade Organization summit. The novel responds to the wish to inscribe in the history of fiction a crucial event which would inspire and inflect the later anti-globalization movement and protests, and which according to some has not yet received the attention it deserves by media or criticism. This article discusses Yapa’s work in the light of the Ethics of Care, and develops an exegesis, which, incorporating elements of Hardt and Negri’s ideas about the Multitude, understands the novel mainly as a reflection of the crucial preoccupation thathumans have for other human beings, and the innate wish to actively take care of the Other and improve his or her life conditions.

Author Biography

Isabel Alonso-Breto, University of Barcelona
Isabel Alonso-Breto is a lecturer in Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Barcelona. Her research has explored the work of authors of Caribbean, South Asian, African and Canadian origin, while in recent years she has focused on the work of authors of Sri Lankan origin. Her articles often discuss cultural identities and various types of displacement, as well as ethical issues. Also interested in creative writing and translation, at present she is the Vice Director of the Centre for Australian and Transnational Studies at the University of Barcelona and a member of Ratnakara, a research group devoted to the study of the literatures and cultures of the Indian Ocean. She can be reached at
How to Cite
Alonso-Breto, I. (2019). Sunil Yapa’s Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist: Protest, Fiction and the Ethics of Care. American Studies in Scandinavia, 51(2), 3-24.