Cartographies of Paris: Everyday Mobilities in Michèle Rakotoson's Elle, au printemps and Alain Mabanckou's Tais-toi et meurs
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CitationToivanen, Anna-Leena. (2019). Cartographies of Paris: Everyday Mobilities in Michèle Rakotoson's Elle, au printemps and Alain Mabanckou's Tais-toi et meurs. Journal of urban cultural studies, 6 (1) , 59-78. 10.1386/jucs_00003_1.
Literary representations of postcolonial subjects’ concrete mobility practices beyond migrancy have not received much critical attention. To fill this void, this article analyses the representations and poetics of urban everyday mobilities in two francophone African diasporic novels, Michèle Rakotoson’s Elle, au printemps (1996) and Alain Mabanckou’s Tais-toi et meurs (2012), through a mobility studies perspective. I focus on the protagonists’ use of urban mobility systems and the narratives’ ways of producing urban cartographies as means for inscribing the newly arrived irregular African migrants in the metropolis, and argue that the texts give articulation to a practical cosmopolitanism. The texts’ poetics of mobility – manifest in their uncanny and thrilleresque qualities – and the protagonists’ journeys to peripheral dead-ends convey the anxious aspects of their attempts to claim Paris as their city through mobility.