Diasporic romances gone bad : Impossible returns to Africa in Myriam Warner-Vieyra's Juletane, Buchi Emecheta's Kehinde and Véronique Tadjo's Loin de Mon Père
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CitationToivanen, Anna-Leena. (2013). Diasporic romances gone bad : Impossible returns to Africa in Myriam Warner-Vieyra's Juletane, Buchi Emecheta's Kehinde and Véronique Tadjo's Loin de Mon Père. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 49 (4) , 432-444. 10.1080/17449855.2012.721791.
This article looks into the thematic of homecoming to the African continent in the novels Juletane by Myriam Warner-Vieyra, Kehinde by Buchi Emecheta and Loin de Mon Père by Véronique Tadjo. This reading sets out to bring together the notions of diaspora and nationhood, which are often conceived as mutually exclusive. It argues for the importance of an emphatic reintroduction of the African nation state and its disturbing failures of decolonization onto the postcolonial theoretical agenda, which is currently more concerned with somewhat unidirectional manifestations of transnational mobility. The novels under scrutiny rewrite the diasporic romance of return from a gendered viewpoint, exposing the inhospitable nature of the postcolonial African nation state towards the female revenants. While the novels’ settings vary greatly from each other, they all represent the gendered diasporic return to the national home as a practical impossibility. Read together, the novels display an interesting continuum of postcolonial disillusionment by giving voice to the failed narrative of the postcolonial African projects of nation-building. While the dream of return literally dies in Juletane and is understood as a realistic impossibility in Kehinde, it seems that Loin de Mon Père, in its outright disillusionment, paradoxically articulates the most hopeful vision of the three novels.