THE DANCING OTHER, Suzanne Dracius’s novel
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THE DANCING OTHER, Suzanne Dracius’s novel L’AUTRE QUI DANSE
Seagull Books, december 2018 :
A Caribbean novel on identity by Suzanne Dracius - The Dancing Other
Suzanne Dracius’ debut novel has just been released in English. First published in Paris at the end of the 1980s, it was the first feminine statement on identity, gender and race on the French Caribbean literary scene. Its description of what it means to be young woman torn appart between a Western metropolis, a postcolonial island and a fantasised Africa remains powerful.
The Dancing Other takes readers to France and Martinique to reveal the struggles of people who belong both places, but never quite feel at home in either. Suzanne Dracius tells the story of Rehvana, a woman who feels she is too black to fit in when living in mainland France, yet at the same time not dark-skinned enough to feel truly accepted in the Caribbean. Her sense of dislocation manifests itself at first in a turn to a mythical idea of Mother Africa ; later, she moves to Martinique with a new boyfriend and thinks she may have finally found her place—but instead she is soon pregnant, isolated, and lonely. Soon her only reliable companion is her neighbor, Ma Cidalise, who regales her in Creole with supernatural tales of wizards. Rehvana, meanwhile, watches her dream of belonging fade, as she continues to refuse to accept her multicultural heritage.