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Christina Kullberg: Maryse Condés novels have made a dizzying journey in the world

Maryse Condé, born on the caribbean island of Guadeloupe in 1937, got its breakthrough with a antikolonialt african epics, ”Segu” in 1984. I do not know what motivated the translation of ”Segu. Walls of clay” to the Swedish 1989. Maybe came here via Norway, where it was translated as early as 1986. Anyway, Sweden was not ready for Maryse Condé, at least judging by the dagskritiken, which not gave the novel a single review. The silence held itself for nearly twenty years. So, finally, in 2007, came her Swedish breakthrough in the Leopard publishing house published ”the Journey through the mangroven” from 1989. Since then, the ”Segu” has been printed in a new edition, and four additional books, a children's book and a few short texts of the journals have been translated. Broadly, critical reception has been positive: Condé described as a great storyteller whose prose touches on readers in depth, at least judging by a quick review of critical opinions.

It is always staggering when you start thinking about what literature to reach an audience and which do not. Of course, there are patterns that scientists benat out: the literature spread all over the world have already been translated into French or English and have almost exclusively assigned rates in the world's western cities. But usually the krackelerar these systems, when looking at specific cases.

Her novels belong to the without doubt world literature. First, she is as a writer, to say the least cosmopolitan. She has lived in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the united states, and has been active as a professor at strategically important locations (Berkeley, Harvard, Columbia, Paris), and it has certainly contributed to that she translated into several languages, and has been well received around the world, which is the other reason why her works belong to the världslitterära the field. The third reason we find in the actual novels. Not unlike the Condés own life, the protagonists in her novels are often double identities and they are drawn into the sequence of events that spans the entire world. Some researchers believe that the berättardrivet is typical for a certain type of world literature: romanernas geographical scope is linked to a high berättartempo where the events rather than the atmosphere and the psychology of standing in the center of the city.

But it is not because of the big players in the världslitterära the field's center as her works eventually found readers in Sweden. Nor is it any of her more världslitterära texts, which meant that she was accepted here. Instead, it was Condés most local novel that spoke to a reader who happened to be a translator. Helena Böhme, who translated ”the Journey through the mangroven,” says via e-mail that she discovered the book in a course in French literature, presented it to the Leopard who understood the value of the entire oeuvre. But how is it that this particular novel struck with the Swedish public in 2007? Certainly, today, Sweden is more diverse, more aware of the colonial history (although we still know little about our own, but that is another discussion), than in 1989. Leopard, founded by Henning Mankell and Dan Israel, in addition to the policies and debating of ideas is aimed at the overseas literatures, is a better forum to enhance the visibility of his writings, which Condés. The translation maybe is better and the critics more open to other voices.

given that the ”Journey through the mangroven” is the most complex and least världslitterära of the Condés novels. The story is set in the small fictional village of Rivière-au-Sel on Guadeloupe. A disliked stranger who settled down in the village, is found dead in among the mangroves and no one can explain how he died. Curious villagers come to the vigil. But instead of that, according to the caribbean practice tell us about the dead begins the assembly to speak about themselves, their relationship to the village, to the dead, to their own lives.

With the cast weaves together a picture presented, of a small enclosed society. All want to from there, but none manage to leave this place. All alone, unable to love. Thus, there is no positive image of Guadeloupe appearing, but at the same time, throbs of hope and life between the lines. As the people are alienated in relation to themselves and each other wearing nature and the landscape of the repressed colonial history. Through its connection to the place, they can still come to terms with the past and turn against the caribbean sea, and open itself to the world. The villagers succeed with the help of a xenophobic intrusion articulate their own history, and based on this opens the possibility to be included in the larger context.

anchored in Guadeloupe, its history and nature, and seem to belong to the type of literature that does not lend itself for translation and receipt at the other places. It is often said that the very cultural differences it is difficult to translate and the which prevent the literature from that trip. But we should not forget that in the Caribbean, the local is always global because of the long colonial history populated by enslaved people from Africa, the descendants of the today wiped out the indigenous people, europeans, people from India, China and the Middle east who came after slavery ended.

in Addition, the book's reception in Sweden to just anchor in a place can sometimes take universal expression. The way in which Condé writes in the individuals ' fates in the geography and nature creates a world that allows those who have never set foot on an island in the Caribbean can relate to the life of the little village. As if a part can open worlds. So it was here: the spiritually sprained the people of Rivière-au-sel opened the door to the Condés writing for a Swedish audience and in the extremely local emerges a writer who is anything but regional.

her more typical världslitterära texts? All of the Condés texts is based on a unique narrative – she simply like to find in stories. The biggest difference between ”Journey” and most of her other novels is that in these takes the course of events prevail. Instead of being immersed in an environment atmosphere, meet the reader of in a furious tempo. But also this storytelling is basically a way to problematize the human relation to their environment. Thus, returns to the same themes that characterize the local novel in her worldwide texts. The people in the Rivière-au-sel is alien to their own place as a result of that they can't formulate a story and not dare to open outwards.

In the other novels, where the events follow each other in a fast pace and spans a range of locations, it becomes difficult to tie them into something solid. The bearing of authorship is the rotlösheten, the feeling of not belonging, which has personal as well as ideological klangbotten of Maryse Condé. As the youngest daughter of a black bourgeois family in Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupes's capital city, steeped in French culture, she grew up on the caribbean culture. When she came to Paris as a student in the 50's, she discovered that she was not heard there, nor because she was black. Not in Africa, she heard at home. She never managed to integrate themselves neither in Guinea, Ghana or Senegal, but remained foreign.

a little on the side, often because of a brutal trauma caused by the abuse of power which makes that they find it difficult to relate to their surroundings. It can be a child who is the fruit of a rape as in ” Desirada” and ”Moi, Tituba sorcière... noire de Salem” (I, the witch, Tituba... black woman from Salem), or more grotesquely, as in ” Célanire” where the main character miraculously rescued, after having had his neck sliced as an infant (in a Swedish translation by Kristina Ekelund, 2016).

the Feeling of alienation, search for identity and history are common themes in the (French) post-colonial literature. What makes Condé unique is the absence of sentimentality and the light irony with which she presents things in a painful condition, partly from the solutions to exclusion. Instead of producing the sacrifice, she lets the people remain alien by the stories. It is rarely the reader really get to know her heroes and heroines in depth. Célanire is, for example, the story's centre, but we never get to see the world through her eyes. Similarly, Marie-Noëlle in the ”Desirada”, the fate of which the reader follows, but which, after three hundred pages filled with movements all over the world, it remains curiously ungraspable.

Romanfigurerna living in the selected or the imposition of your unbearable lightness of being, but the volatility by which they appear can also be read in terms of a protest against the interpretation as if they are wearing on a particular frihetsetos.

book review: Maryse Condés ”Célanire” is a captivating tale of sex and revenge,

Maryse Condé has stopped writing. Time and again, the rumor proved to be false. Despite the fact that she due to illness no longer can hold a pen, and she finds other ways of storytelling. Her latest novel ”Le fabuleux et recorded destin d’Ivan et d'ivana” (Ivan and ivana's fairy-tale and the sad fate of the, 2017) is dictated and transkriberad. Bound to her chair refuses, she let herself be limited by her illness, but continues to move through the writing. As free and easy rejection, which always she writes in people from the periphery of the world. And she never takes away from them the right to not allow himself to be caught.

book review: About the colonial abuse in the ”Desirada”

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