Image: Kader Attia, Modern Architecture Genealogy, 2012, Series of collage: cardboard, photographs, and vintage documents. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Krinzinger.
This month we're featuring new writing in French by immigrants to France. Whether they come from former colonies or non-Francophone nations, the writers here explore their new country (and, often, language) from a dual perspective, drawing on their previous and current lives to expand and reframe contemporary French literature. Aziz Chouaki tracks an Algerian immigrant's frenetic first night in Paris. Iranian Négar Djavadi finds her home with Johnny Rotten. In 1994 Rwanda, Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse battles family tension exacerbated by ethnic conflict. Rachid O.'s Moroccan teen falls in love with both a boy and a country. Zahia Rahmani shows how a doubly exiled Algerian girl recovers her language and, with it, her memories. And Shumona Sinha's bewildered Hindu escapes death threats, only to undergo a far worse interrogation at the hands of immigration. WWB editorial director Susan Harris provides an introduction. Elsewhere, we showcase three examples of the Latin America crónica.
Recalculating the Hexagon: The New French Literature
These writers have migrated geographically and, in some cases, linguistically.
from “The Eagle”
Boulevard Barbès, Rochechouart, like a film clip, Arabs, blacks, half-whites.
Johnny Rotten, Ari Up, Ian Curtis, Joe Strummer
Because punk is made so people like you will look at people like me.
My son now despises me.
from “Muslim: A Novel”
I was the daughter of a tainted man.
I was thirteen years old, it was time to steal.
The Man with a Guava Tree
“Why? Wasn’t there a guava tree at the other guy’s place?”