The Translation of Black Paris in the Fiction of Alain Mabanckou
This chapter examines the itineraries of Congolese migrants in three novels of Alain Mabanckou: Bleu-Blanc-Rouge (1998), Verre Cassé (2005), and Black Bazar (2009). The focus is on two reoccurring problems central to the experiences depicted by Mabanckou. These concern the conflict between the idea of France as imagined by the Congolese protagonists and the lived encounters that transform it, and the cultural and linguistic challenges brought to a multiplicity of spaces in France and the Congo by these very migrants. The chapter grounds its analyses in theories of the term diaspora and its use in delimiting boundaries of black cultural and political experiences between Africa and Europe. Each novel places its characters on different stages of the migrant journey, reading them together and against each other, thereby allowing for a greater appreciation of the circuitous routes that link the Congo to France, and vice-versa.
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