Locating Belonging in Postcolonial Space Homeland Narratives in René Philoctète’s Le Peuple des terres mêlées and Kim Lefèvre’s Retour à la saison des pluies
Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Comparative Literature Program
Place of Publication
The Barbara Riley Levin Prize
Table of Contents
This thesis explores the construction of homelands through space, movement, and time in Kim Lefèvre’s Retour à la saison des pluies (1990) and René Philoctète’s Le Peuple des terres mêlées (1989). Retour à la saison des pluies is an autobiographical novel of Lefèvre, who grew up marginalized in Vietnam for her mixed French and Vietnamese ethnicity. In the text, she returns to Vietnam for the first time after thirty years in France. Le Peuple des terres mêlées is a magical realist novel that takes place during the 1937 massacre of Haitians living in the Dominican borderlands. In the text, Adèle, a Haitian woman, and Pedro, her Dominican husband, attempt to flee their deaths and reconstruct a borderland community. Racialized, nationalist, and (post)colonial forces complicate the concept of homeland for Lefèvre, Adèle, and Pedro. As they search for homeland and are excluded from communal homelands, they travel through time and space. Retour à la saison des pluies and Le Peuple des terres mêlées warp relationships between space, time, and body to explore the meaning of human movement and location.