In The Lives of Loréna (Les vies de Loréna, 2020), the Mauritian novelist Christine Duvergé chronicles the unraveling of her titular protagonist’s seemingly ideal existence while weaving together a double critique of the global fashion industry and Trump-era conservatism in the American heartland. This article focuses on the novel’s sociopolitical critiques, which find expression in expensive fashions and the abusive labor practices of the American overseas apparel industry. Described by Duvergé as a “subversive fairytale,” the novel illuminates a transnational network of capitalist greed, which powers the global clothing chain in which Mauritius has served historically as a vital, if exploited, link. Duvergé humanizes the poverty and physical suffering of garment workers in Mauritius, foregrounding imbalances and interdependencies characterizing today’s global apparel industry. As a North-South border-crossing narrative that integrates the protagonist’s memories of her homeland into how she experiences life in the United States, The Lives of Loréna is a timely addition to contemporary Indian Ocean French-language literature, which is, as Françoise Lionnet and Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François have stated, “producing locally grounded writing with global ambitions.”

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