Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau

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Synopsis

"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 Patrick Chamoiseau

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Patrick Chamoiseau lives on Martinique. His other books include Chronique des sept misères and Solibo Magnifique. Texaco has been translated into fourteen languages.
 
Published February 11, 1997 by Pantheon Books / Random House, Inc.. 401 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Texaco

Publishers Weekly

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A teeming jungle of a book, this novel brilliantly mixes historical events, Creole fables, snatches of poetry and satiric arias--as well as the French and Creole languages--into a polyphonous Caribbea

Feb 02 1997 | Read Full Review of Texaco

Publishers Weekly

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A teeming jungle of a book, this novel brilliantly mixes historical events, Creole fables, snatches of poetry and satiric arias--as well as the French and Creole languages--into a polyphonous Caribbean epic.

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London Review of Books

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