This dissertation examines fictional works from the 1980s to the present by migrant and diasporic writers in Western Europe and North America. My project aims to make a significant intervention in postcolonial and world literature studies by exploring migrant authors' literary identities from the perspective of the ethics of reading. I employ ethics not as a philosophical, but rather as a literary category to refer to migrant writers who reject fixed literary labels. Because Hanif Kureishi, Zadie Smith, Kiran Desai, Milan Kundera and Dany Laferrière, among others, do not fit neatly into national literary traditions, but rather display multiple transnational affiliations, I ask: What does it mean for such authors to be viewed as "national" in the context of recent theorizations of global literatures? Conversely, what happens when they are considered "world" writers, as their texts are produced and circulated at both national and global levels? I argue that, because migrant authors struggle against rigid literary classifications, they propose a flexible conception of literary identity as poised between the national and the global. Using narrative strategies such as intertextuality and multilingualism and exploring the legacies of the British and French empires, they connect their works to other literary traditions, constructing a relational model of literature that blurs discrete literary classifications. This model illuminates Western European and North American colonial and neocolonial ties to South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe, highlighting the boundaries that power relations maintain. As counter-hegemonic texts, these works pose questions of ethical and political responsiveness and responsibility by placing readers and critics in empathetic subject positions and compelling them to make transnational connections.