The Unattainable Mediterranean : Arrested Clandestine Odysseys in Sefi Atta's "Twilight Trek" and Marie NDiaye's Trois femmes puissantes
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CitationToivanen Anna-Leena. (2016). The Unattainable Mediterranean : Arrested Clandestine Odysseys in Sefi Atta's "Twilight Trek" and Marie NDiaye's Trois femmes puissantes. Research in African Literatures, 47 (4) , 133-151. 10.2979/reseafrilite.47.4.08.
Sub-Saharan African aspiring migrants, pursuing their clandestine odysseys through the Sahara towards the Mediterranean, seem far removed from the figure of the upwardly mobile migrant paradigmatized by postcolonial theory. The attempt to migrate illegally represents a very precarious and time-consuming form of mobility where the itinerary is subject to continuous revision, and reaching the destination is never obvious. The present article analyzes Sefi Atta’s short story “Twilight Trek” (2009) and the third part of Marie NDiaye’s triptych Trois femmes puissantes (2010) and their representations of these vulnerable African odysseys in which the climax of the migratory endeavor, arrival in Europe, remains out of the protagonists’ reach. By focusing on tropes pertaining to identity, mobility, slavery, and storytelling, this article draws attention to the manner in which the text corpus conveys the idea of the precariousness of the arrested migratory endeavor and the limits set to the mobile position of the underprivileged travelers.