Synopses & Reviews
The critically acclaimed, award-winning author of the classic historical novel Segu, Maryse Condé has pieced together the life of her maternal grandmother to create a moving and profound novel.
Maryse Condé's personal journey of discovery and revelation becomes ours as we learn of Victoire, her white-skinned mestiza grandmother who worked as a cook for the Walbergs, a family of white Creoles, in the French Antilles.
Using her formidable skills as a storyteller, Condé describes her grandmother as having "Australian whiteness for the color of her skin...She jarred with my world of women in Italian straw bonnets and men necktied in three-piece linen suits, all of them a very black shade of black. She appeared to me doubly strange."
Victoire was spurred by Condé's desire to learn of her family history, resolving to begin her quest by researching the life of her grandmother. While uncovering the circumstances of Victoire's unique life story, Condé also comes to grips with a haunting question: How could her own mother, a black militant, have been raised in the Walberg's home, a household of whites?
Creating a work that takes readers into a time and place populated with unforgettable characters that inspire and amaze, Condé's blending of memoir and imagination, detective work and storytelling artistry, is a literary gem that readers won't soon forget.
"Victoire is indeed a victory -- of style, form and of course, voice. For those who are new to Maryse Condé, you are in for a delicious and absorbing treat." -- Rebecca Walker, author of Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self
“Maryse Condé is one of the most important novelists writing today. Her stories are both historical and present, in the moment, murmuring secrets flavored with a Caribbean language of swishing rhythms, sweet as nectar, and lyrical as the swooshing skirts of the Guadeloupean women.”
For nearly four decades, Maryse Condé, best known for her novels Segu
and Windward Heights
, has been at the forefront of French Caribbean literature. In this collection of essays and lectures, written over many years and in response to the challenges posed by a changing world, she reflects on the ideas and histories that have moved her. From the use of French as her literary languagedespite its colonial historyto the agonies of the Middle Passage, at the horrors of African dictatorship, and the politically induced poverty of the Caribbean to migration under globalization, Condé casts her unflinching eye over the world which is her inheritance, her burden, and her future.
Even while paying homage to her intellectual and literary influencesincluding Frantz Fanon, Leopold Sedar Senghor, and Aimé CésaireCondé establishes in these pages the singularity of her vision and the reason for the enormous admiration that her writing has garnered from readers and critics alike.
About the Author
Maryse Condé is the award-winning author of twelve novels, including Crossing the Mangrove, Segu, Who Slashed Celanire's Throat?, and I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem. She lives in New York and Montebello, Guadeloupe.
Table of Contents
What is a Caribbean Writer?
Instructions on How to Become a ‘Caribbean Writer
Intimate Enemies: A Writers Reflection on Translation
Searching for Our Truths
The Voyager In, The Voyager Out
Beyond Languages and Colours
Césaires Negritude, Senghors Negritude
Why Negritude? Negritude or Revolution?
The Difficult Relationship with Africa: An Interview with Maryse Condé
Living on My Island, Guadeloupe
On the Other Side, Another Country: Africa as Seen by African American Writers
Globalization and Diaspora
Literature and Globalization
A Servant to Two Masters: Césaire and Fanon
Lands of the Atlantic
Sketching a Literature from the French Antilles: From Negritude to Céolité