Caribbean Migration Narratives
212 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- ISBN: 9789766407353
- Published: November 2019
This interdisciplinary study focuses on recent migrant literature by five outstanding authors from the anglophone, francophone and hispanophone Caribbean: Maryse Condé, Edwidge Danticat, Junot Díaz, Curdella Forbes and Caryl Phillips. Anthea Morrison offers a unique focus on Caribbean migration from a diverse corpus of texts. The analysis emphasizes the importance of travelling in the Caribbean imaginary and the discourse of identity and offers close readings of several “migrant narratives”.
Care is taken to underline the specificity of the national contexts which inform the work of each author, despite the manifest commonalities they share as Caribbean writers, and further, to illustrate the heterogeneity of Caribbean thought. The analysis seeks to demonstrate that Caribbean migrant literature is far from monolithic, not only because of inevitable sociopolitical and historical differences between the distinctive territories but also because of the singularities of temperament and experience which shape the attitudes of individual writers vis-à-vis the land left behind.
At a time when, both regionally and internationally, issues of multiculturalism, migrancy and an apparent resurgence of nativism are topics of urgent discussion, New Crossings brings timely focus to the continuing importance of migration in Caribbean experience and in Caribbean literature.
1. Edwidge Danticat: The Immigrant Writer as “Witness from Afar”
2. Junot Díaz: “Soy dominicano, dominicano soy”
3. Caryl Phillips: Stories from England, Stories from Home
4. Maryse Condé’s Elusive Origins: To Africa, Again?
5. Curdella Forbes: Of Home Soil in New Lands
6. After the Journey: Reinventing the Self?
The young protagonist of Cuban American Cristina García’s Dreaming in Cuban, at the end of a fruitful first visit to her parents’ birthplace, and after a warm reunion with her grandmother Celia, gives voice to the angst of competing affiliations which many Caribbean migrants have experienced: “I’m afraid to lose all this, to lose Abuela Celia again. But sooner or later I’d have to return to New York. I know now it’s where I belong – not instead of here, but more than here.”3 Different versions of this duality of allegiance constitute a major thematic concern in recent Caribbean migrant literature. Of course, the potent charge of “home”, remembered/imagined from abroad, is hardly a new preoccupation in Caribbean literature: a history of displacement, of migrations more or less freely chosen after the vast historical uprooting that was the slave trade, has ensured that all who inhabit a once-alien region now claimed as home are aware of the proximity and even attraction of “other” lands. During the colonial period, the myth of affiliation with a European “motherland”, coupled with the reality of scarce economic opportunities in small territories only nominally emancipated from plantation life, impelled the movement of many West Indians in a northerly direction.