This essay considers Maryse Condé's Guadeloupean mystery novel Crossing the Mangrove as emblematic of a “politics of crossing.” The novel's queer critical praxis presents a rigorous challenge to normative (often oppressive) communities embodied by the individual, the family, the nation, and other collective ensembles to critique the failure of patriarchy, racist nationalism, classism, and heterosexism in the novel's postcolonial context. Although Condé's transnational intervention does not provide an alternative model in the sense of a stable structure, the politics of crossing gestures toward other ways or modes of affiliation: it represents a desire for an “Elsewhere,” for cross-racial, cross-national, cross-gender, or cross-sexual identifications or moments of solidarity. Condé's novel anticipates queer diaspora theory inaugurated by scholars such as David Eng, among others, yet Condé's politics of crossing also offers an odd materialism as well, one that is informed as much by Karl Marx and Frantz Fanon (however critically) as it is by Condé's own feminist contribution to scholarship on the Caribbean.

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