Interview with Suzanne Dracius

by Janice Morgan
Murray State University USA
dimanche 13 juin 2004
popularité : 3%

« A Woman Who Falls is Never Without Hope »
Suzanne Dracius, born in Martinique, left the island with her family for Sceaux, a suburb of Paris, where she spent her adolescence and young adulthood ; she later returned to Martinique as a professor of classical literature. In 1989, she published a novel, "L’Autre qui danse", about a young female protagonist who, like the author’s younger self, is an Antillean transplanted to France. However, unlike Dracius, who appears completely at ease in her trans-Atlantic identity, her protagonist descends into tragedy as she leaves France to search for a true spiritual and societal home. In the intervening years, Dracius has written two short stories that have been anthologized in American classroom collections of literature in French from beyond l’Hexagone , “La Montagne de Feu” and “La Virago.” Both stories, which feature strong, rebellious women characters, have been published recently in her expanded collection of stories, Rue Monte au Ciel, (Desnel Press, Fort de France, Martinique, 2003). With this collection, Dracius strikes out on her own with a new energy and a bold attitude : a kind of feminist version of her male compatriots’ créolité. Dracius’ stories make full use of Martinique’s cultural history ; they range from evocations of the original Arawak and Caraïbe inhabitants of the Caribbean, to sugar plantations under slavery, to present day trans-Atlantic encounters in the trains and airports of Europe. They speak of many injustices, but they also assert the hope for transformation. Seeing herself as a contemporary marronne (rebel), Dracius takes on restrictive codes and taboos of all kinds, including those of French literary stylistics. A great part of the pleasure of reading her work is the verbal virtuosity she deploys, where Latin jostles with Créole expressions, where classic French and popular Caribbean usage mingle in all sorts of playful ways.
Interview with Suzanne Dracius
Fort de France, Martinique (June 13, 2004)
Conducted and translated by Janice Morgan.
Q : Many of your readers are fascinated by métissage, the mixture of races and cultures, in your fiction. Could you speak to us about your own background and how you arrived at this awareness that being of mixed race doesn’t have to be a problem, but rather brings a kind of richness with it ?…
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