Review: Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau

texaco book cover Texaco [1992] – ★★★★★ 

Chamoiseau’s colonial-themed magnum opus is a story of and by the generations who fought hard for their right to exist and prosper, and it is this unique perspective which makes the book so exceptional.  

You say “History” but that means nothing. So many lives, so many destinies, so many tracks go into the making of our unique path. You dare say History, but I say histories, stories. The one you take for the master stem of our manioc is but one stem among many others.…” 

Some books shine through times, forever stirring spirits” [Chamoiseau, 1992/7: 325].

Some books have such a distinct, authentic voice, telling of the plight of ordinary people, that they cannot fail to move, defying logical analyses. Martinique-born Patrick Chamoiseau wrote one such emotionally powerful book with one such distinctive voice, and it is titled Texaco, translated from the French by Rose-Myriam Rejouis and Val Vinokurov. The book, which also received the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 1992, reads almost like a fable, evading strict categorisations. 

Continue reading “Review: Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau”