Image: Eric Rakoto, The Great Worker (detail), 2012, acrylic, 100"x100"
This month we spotlight writing from the islands of Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, and Mayotte. Francophone writing in the region dates back to the eighteenth century; the coexistence of French with the area's other languages (Creole, Malagasy, Arabic, and Hindi), and its relationship to French colonialism, inflect writers' thematic, stylistic, and syntactic choices. See how J. William Cally, Ananda Devi, Nassuf Djailani, Michel Ducasse, Boris Gamaleya, Alain Gordon-Gentil, Carpanin Marimoutou and Françoise Vergès, Esther Nirina, Barlen Pyamootoo, Jean-Luc Raharimanana, and Umar Timol imaginatively engage with this complex heritage. We thank our guest editor, Françoise Lionnet, for assembling this fine collection. Elsewhere, Mauritian writer Nathacha Appanah joins Etgar Keret and Wojciech Jagielski in writing from cities not their own. And we deliver the third installment of Sakumi Tamaya's “Hole in the Garden.”
Insularity, Mobility, and Imagination: Writing from the Indian Ocean
Francophone writing in the Mascarene region dates back to the eighteenth century.
The Iron Caterpillar
He had the sense of a giant creature slithering within the tunnel.
Center of Flacq
Flacq during the day is nothing more than a vast market; buy, sell, pound the pavements, work the sidewalks.
Diary of an Old Mad Woman
So you come from there, it must be so beautiful so wonderful; why do you live here when your island is so lovely.
Traces of Our Fathers
The prairies of Brittany have sugarcane in their memory.
She answered, listening to the detailed instructions of the fabric against her skin.
Isle Say Blood
always the sea always / shameful the shameful ocean / bodies battered before touching the shore
The Crossing toward Hope
It’s raining bullets over Mutsamudu.
But Your Eyes
Smooth is the beach / Like the arch of my entrance / Refusing your doors.
The Sea Horses’ Ball
The plane crashes . . . on the island of troubling roosters.
Moorings: Indo-oceanic Creolizations
The horizon which traces a curved line—not a straight one as in the North—is the metaphor for our position.
Now chant. / Dêmos / Kratos
The gecko got it right