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Aeromobilities of Student Newcomers in Francophone African Fiction

Anna-Leena Toivanen

Abstract

In the field of postcolonial literary studies, representations of concrete forms of mobility have not received the critical attention they deserve. This is partly due to the field's reductive understanding of “mobility” as a synonym for migration. In order to enhance dialogue between postcolonial literary studies and mobilities research, this article focuses on representations of aeromobility in the context of Afroeuropean student mobilities in a set of Francophone African novels from the 1980s to the 2010s. My reading of scenes of aeromobility in the text corpus draws attention to the anxious aspects of the air travel of unaccustomed travelers and African newcomers traveling to the former colonial center, and explores the formal functions of representations of aeromobility in terms of narrative structures and tropes.

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Unruly Landscapes of a Diasporic Return

Mobility and Memory in Michèle Rakotoson's Juillet au pays: Chroniques d'un retour à Madagascar (2007)

Anna-Leena Toivanen

Abstract

Juillet au pays: Chroniques d'un retour à Madagascar (“July in the Country: Chronicles of a Return to Madagascar,” 2007) narrates the “homecoming” of the diasporic author Michèle Rakotoson after several years of absence. Applying a literary mobility studies perspective and contributing to the dialogue between mobilities research and postcolonial literary studies, this article analyzes how Rakotoson's return travelogue constructs Madagascan landscapes through the interplay of mobility and memory. The article focuses on the text's representations of mobility practices and how different means of transport affect the returnee's impressions of the “homely” landscapes and her own positioning with respect to them. While different mobility practices and modes of transport and their intertwinement with personal/collective memories allow for diverse perspectives on the former home, the landscapes of return remain unruly: they are mobile not only because observed while in movement, but also because their present meanings escape from the returnee.

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Novel Reviews

Anna-Leena Toivanen and Joanna E. Taylor

Michèle Rakotoson, Elle, au printemps (Saint-Maur: Sépia, 1996), 122 pp.

Kathleen Jamie, Surfacing (UK: Sort of Books, 2019), 240 pp., £7.99.

Kathleen Jamie (ed.), Antlers of Water: Writing on the Nature and Environment of Scotland (Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 2020), 232pp., £20.