The Mauritian Novel: Fictions of Belonging - Conclusion: Over the Rainbow
University of Reading, GB
Julia Waters is Professor of Contemporary Literature in French at the University of Reading, Great Britain. Her research interests include twentieth-century and contemporary French & Francophone literature; Francophone cultures of the Indian Ocean, especially Mauritius; women’s writing in French, especially Marguerite Duras and Ananda Devi; feminist & postcolonial theory. Her main publications include: The Mauritian Novel: Fictions of Belonging (Liverpool University Press, 2018); Duras and Indochina: Postcolonial Perspectives (SFPS Critical Studies in Postcolonial Literature and Culture, 2006); (ed.), ‘L’ici et l’ailleurs’: Postcolonial Literatures of the Francophone Indian Ocean. E-france: an Online Journal of French Studies, vol 2 (2008); and (with Adalgisa Giorgio, eds), Women's writing in Western Europe: Gender, Generation and Legacy. (Cambridge Scholars, 2007).
In the conclusion, I reflect that a common concern with the problem of belonging unites all of the novels of my corpus. Despite the great diversity of forms of belonging imagined, there also emerge areas of striking convergence: the trope of the journey of discovery; moments of rapturous connection with the island’s natural beauty; the haunting figure of the stateless migrant; and a desire to connect with Creole characters and hence with a long-suppressed, locally-rooted ‘Creole’ culture that endures in the interstices of Mauritius’s dominant, diasporic ‘community system’. When combined with the novels’ common resistance to prescriptive identitarian models, these convergences betray a potentially unifying, future-orientated commitment to common values, to the ongoing project of Mauritian nationhood and to the tantalising fiction of belonging.