Reading Patrick Chamoiseau's Texaco in terms of Joseph Meeker's notion of the “comedy of survival,” Lincoln argues that the text affirms the pragmatic necessities of survival and continued “opposition,” despite the evident impossibility of resistance at a time of political foreclosure; as such, it complicates Peter Hallward's and Chris Bongie's recent criticisms of the ideological and philosophical turn to autonomous “singularity” in contemporary postcolonialism. In Texaco, the “singular” experiences of Martinique's “wasted lives” prove to serve not as a retreat from universal “specificity” but rather as a basis for such relation, offering a sophisticated poetic articulation of how an open community grounded not on identity but on strategic alliance might look. It is precisely in a moment of defeat, or failure, at a time defined by “living without an alternative,” that Texaco locates its richest hope and promise, its utopian turn, offering a paradoxical (or, perhaps, dialectical) redefinition of the terms of both literary endeavor and political practice.
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Sarah L. Lincoln; Conquering City: The Poetics of Possibility in Texaco. Small Axe 1 November 2011; 15 (3 (36)): 1–21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-1443259
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