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“Rich in scope and audacious in its critical vision, Creole Renegades incisively advances debates about fundamental aspects of our postcolonial and globalized experiences such as the enigmas of racial passing, creoleness, and returning and leaving ‘home.’”—Anny Dominique Curtius, author of Symbiosis of a Memory
“An important book that tackles the phenomenon of exiled Caribbean authors from a new perspective, underscoring their contentious relationship with the home island. Boisseron continues the work of ‘decentering’ Caribbean studies, moving the locus of analysis from the Antilles or Europe to North America.”—Richard Watts, author of Packaging Post/Coloniality
“This insightful approach illuminates important shifts in Caribbean literature and enables Boisseron to make new, essential contributions into the articulation of subjectivities in twenty-first century literary criticism.”—Frieda Ekotto, author of Race and Sex across the French Atlantic
Exiled writers often have extremely complicated relationships with their native lands. In this volume, Bénédicte Boisseron examines the works of Caribbean-born writers who, from their new locations in North America, question their cultural obligations of Caribbeanness, Creoleness, and even Blackness. She surveys the works of Edwidge Danticat, Jamaica Kincaid, V. S. Naipaul, Maryse Condé, Dany Laferrière, and others who at times have been well received in their adopted countries but who have been dismissed in their home islands as sell-outs, opportunists, or traitors.
These expatriate and second-generation authors refuse to be simple bearers of Caribbean culture, often dramatically distancing themselves from the postcolonial archipelago. Their writing is frequently infused with an enticing sense of cultural, sexual, or racial emancipation, but their deviance is not defiant. Instead, their emancipations are those of the nomad, whose actual and descriptive travels between points on a cultural compass help to deconstruct the “sedentary ideology of Caribbeanness” and to reanimate it with new perspectives.
Underscoring the often-ignored contentious relationship between modern diaspora authors and the Caribbean, Boisseron ultimately argues that displacement and creative autonomy are often manifest in guilt and betrayal, central themes that emerge again and again in the work of these writers.