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  • Osons la fraternité! Les écrivains aux côtés des migrants ed. by Patrick Chamoiseau et Michel Le Bris
  • Jocelyn A. Frelier
Osons la fraternité! Les écrivains aux côtés des migrants. Sous la direction de Patrick Chamoiseau et Michel Le Bris. Paris: Philippe Rey, 2018. 317 pp., ill.

This volume constitutes an assemblage of thirty pieces of writing, including short stories, essays, and poems, that examine the conundrum of migration and exile. The book is supported by the Festival Étonnants Voyageurs, which has been taking place since 1990, primarily in Saint-Malo, France. In their introductory essay to the volume, Patrick Chamoiseau and Michel Le Bris elaborate their vision for this literary project by exami-ning the stakes of artistic interventions related to political questions. They describe how the world has watched in horror as the Mediterranean Sea has become an aquatic graveyard, as asylum-seekers from across the Global South attempt hazardous crossings. In doing so, the editors ask Europe (and the Western world, more broadly) to take responsibility for its inaction. In their plea, the editors recall the global impact of photographs of three-year-old Alan Kurdi taken the morning of 2 September 2015, after he drowned in the Mediterranean at the hands of human-traffickers who had assured his family safe passage to Greece. Like those photographs, the editors argue, literature has the potential to reveal the moral and ethical implications of refusing to acknowledge a human crisis. This collection of essays contains contributions from some of today's most notable authors from across the francophone world, including Tahar Ben Jelloun, J. M. G. Le Clézio, and Achille Mbembe. The edition also contains the work of relative newcomers on the literary scene, such as Kaouther Adimi and Felwine Sarr. Céline Curiol takes the reader back just over a hundred years to remind us that '[c]ette histoire ne date pas de hier' (p. 88), while Claude Magris argues that issues of migration have become more urgent than they might have been in the past, opening his essay with: 'Le monde est en train de perdre la quatrième guerre mondiale, non contre des mondes extraterrestres, comme dans les films de science-fiction, mais contre lui-même' (p. 149). Ben Jelloun creates an alternative reality, in which French words come to life and have agency. Those that come from other languages decide to leave for a more hospitable country. His point is that those who oppose migration, on account at least in part of notions related to their 'français de souche' origins, would be surprised to learn how much of the culture they claim can be sourced to non-French territory. Pascal Blanchard leads the reader on a historical excavation of Dwight D. Eisenhower's 'Operation Wetback', which established not only a precedent for Donald Trump's famous Mexican wall but also the global context for migration-related violence. The book is most successful in its ability to capture such a wide variety of perspectives. Each author's voice contributes a piece of the puzzle that rounds out the contemporary debates related to migration. Its content varies enough in tone, subject, and style to more or less guarantee that each reader will find a set of essays that resonates. [End Page 334]

Jocelyn A. Frelier
Sam Houston State University


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