This article explores the complex position of Kristina, a refugee, in Graham Swift’s 2003 novel The Light of Day. She has been overlooked in criticism of the novel which has tended to focus on the narrator George. I argue that Kristina, in her role as both proximal and distant to the text, allows us to ask pressing questions about the nature of hospitality in relation to the contingent and unstable position of asylum seekers and refugees within British national space. Drawing on Jacques Derrida’s work on hospitality, I argue that the novel’s self-conscious mode of narrative expression both situates and problematises the imagination as a potential space of accommodation for asylum narratives.
- Graham Swift