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Reading with Patrick Chamoiseau & Beate Thill

Internationaler Literaturpreis 2015 | Long Night of the Shortlist and Award Ceremony 2015
Wed, Jul 8 2015

Patrick Chamoiseau: Die Spur des Anderen
Translated from the French by Beate Thill | L'empreinte à Crusoé
Verlag Das Wunderhorn 2014 | Éditions Gallimard, Paris 2012

“Patrick Chamoiseau succeeds in his nuanced rewriting of the Crusoe legend, a masterpiece in which the protagonist, this time a black castaway, is not a figure of Western projection, but the proud inventor of himself. It is a thriller of consciousness, which is able to broaden European rationalism without denouncing it, a celebration of literature, presented in an equally sensual and fluid, complex language and congenially translated into German by Beate Thill.” (The jury on the shortlist nomination 2015)

The legend of Crusoe continues: the hero of the novel, a West African cabin boy who is marooned by his captain for disobedience, becomes stranded on a deserted isle and loses his memory. Like his literary role model, he reports of his survival as a castaway and how, using his own resources, the remains of a found ship and what the captain leaves him with (philosophical leaflets), he creates what he needs for survival. As in Defoe’s Crusoe the reader observes the hero as he matures through his adventures, learns to endure the loneliness, becomes self-confident and cheerful, but is possibly non-European as his memories bring images from another culture to light. Chamoiseau’s Robinson must redefine his identity, to later be visited by Captain Crusoe, who returns years later to see what has become of his marooned protégé.