Texaco

Texaco

By Patrick Chamoiseau; Val Vinokurov (Translator); Rose-Myriam Rejouis (Translator)

Vintage, Paperback, 9780679751755, 416pp.

Publication Date: February 24, 1998

Description

"Chamoiseau is a writer who has the sophistication of the modern novelist, and it is from that position (as an heir of Joyce and Kafka) that he holds out his hand to the oral prehistory of literature."
--Milan Kundera

Of black Martinican provenance, Patrick Chamoiseau gives us Texaco (winner of the Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary prize), an international literary achievement, tracing one hundred and fifty years of post-slavery Caribbean history: a novel that is as much about self-affirmation engendered by memory as it is about a quest for the adequacy of its own form.

In a narrative composed of short sequences, each recounting episodes or developments of moment, and interspersed with extracts from fictive notebooks and from statements by an urban planner, Marie-Sophie Laborieux, the saucy, aging daughter of a slave affranchised by his master, tells the story of the tormented foundation of her people's identity. The shantytown established by Marie-Sophie is menaced from without by hostile landowners and from within by the volatility of its own provisional state. Hers is a brilliant polyphonic rendering of individual stories informed by rhythmic orality and subversive humor that shape a collective experience.

A joyous affirmation of literature that brings to mind Boccaccio, La Fontaine, Lewis Carroll, Montaigne, Rabelais, and Joyce, Texaco is a work of rare power and ambition, a masterpiece.



About the Author
Patrick Chamoiseau's novel "Texaco" won the Prix Goncourt in 1992. Linda Coverdale's many translations include Chamoiseau's "School Days" (Nebraska 1997), his "Creole Folktales," and Jorge Semprun's "Literature or Life," winner of the 1997 French-American Foundation Translation Prize. Playwright, critic, essayist, and novelist Edouard Glissant is the author of "The Fourth Century" (Nebraska 2001).