A metropolis such as Paris may provide a common ground for the experiences of migrants coming from Africa and Latin American. The traditional capital of Latin American literatures is also considered to be the greatest agglomeration of African immigrants mostly coming from former French colonies. But a common ground does not necessarily mean that they have a great deal in common. Two novels, Café Nostalgia by the Cuban author Zoé Valdés and Black Bazar by the Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou, not only define the topographic base of their exile. They also discuss the special reasons for their residence in a city likely to offer rather different approaches to their autodiegetic narrators. While the young lady from Cuba longs for Havana’s Malecón seeking to treat the persistent remainders and reminders of her traumas, the African resident by no means shares this nostalgia. The distance to the Caribbean island can be measured, whereas Africa is so far away that a return seems impossible. For the young Cuban narrator there is a way back to the roots of her childhood. Her Congolese counterpart, however, has no hope any longer to restore the links to a home which is likely to be deserted. Although Paris remains a topos for a deterritorialized postcolonial subject, the sets of references in the two novels obviously do not correspond to one another.
"Paris Calling: Typical and Untypical Experiences of Latin American and African Diasporas,"
CALL: Irish Journal for Culture, Arts, Literature and Language:
1, Article 18.
Available at: http://arrow.dit.ie/priamls/vol1/iss1/18