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Locating the Destitute

Space and Identity in Caribbean Fiction
Stanka Radović


BUY Cloth · 240 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813936284 · $59.50 · Jul 2014
BUY Paper · 240 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813936291 · $24.50 · Jul 2014
BUY Ebook · 240 pp. · ISBN 9780813936307 · $24.50 · Jul 2014

While postcolonial discourse in the Caribbean has drawn attention to colonialism’s impact on space and spatial hierarchy, Stanka Radović asks both how ordinary people as "users" of space have been excluded from active and autonomous participation in shaping their daily spatial reality and how they challenge this exclusion. In a comparative interdisciplinary reading of anglophone and francophone Caribbean literature and contemporary spatial theory, she focuses on the house as a literary figure and the ways that fiction and acts of storytelling resist the oppressive hierarchies of colonial and neocolonial domination. The author engages with the theories of Henri Lefebvre, Michel Foucault, and contemporary critical geographers, in addition to selected fiction by V. S. Naipaul, Patrick Chamoiseau, Beryl Gilroy, and Rafaël Confiant, to examine the novelists’ construction of narrative "houses" to reclaim not only actual or imaginary places but also the very conditions of self-representation.

Radović ultimately argues for the power of literary imagination to contest the limitations of geopolitical boundaries by emphasizing space and place as fundamental to our understanding of social and political identity. The physical places described in these texts crystallize the protagonists’ ambiguous and complex relationship to the New World. Space is, then, as the author shows, both a political fact and a powerful metaphor whose imaginary potential continually challenges its material limitations.

Reviews:


Radović’s study offers a profusion of important and interesting insights into the subject of postcolonial spatial studies. Through patient, attentive readings of the literary works, she gives readers a fluid and varied panorama of Caribbean representations of space in English and in French

Eric Prieto, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of Literature, Geography, and the Postmodern Poetics of Place

About the Author: 

Stanka Radović is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Toronto.

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