In examining Deepak Unnikrishnan’s Temporary People (2017), this article employs a materialist framework to develop a broader critical perspective that addresses the impact of global power on emerging narratives of labor migration. In engaging both aesthetic and material elements, it examines how Unnikrishnan offers an alternative to what is described as the “mythology of migrancy” narrative. As such, the article challenges the dominant paradigm of migration in postcolonial studies, which tends to celebrate hybridity and fluidity of identity. Unnikrishnan responds aesthetically to dominant migration discourse through his deliberate narrative strategy of building his short stories around different experiences of exploited and estranged individuals who are often positioned outside the narrative itself. The article establishes two focuses: one historical, the other literary. First, it addresses the relationships among global capitalism, oil, and immigration in the Arabian Gulf. Second, it explores how Temporary People creates a new aesthetic mode to narrate the struggle of temporary migrants.

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