A Moroccan Tale of an Outlandish Europe: Ben Jelloun’s Departures for a Double Exile
Pireddu, Nicoletta. “A Moroccan Tale of an Outlandish Europe: Ben Jelloun’s Departures for a Double Exile,” Research in African Literatures, 40 (3), Fall 2009: 16-36.
By exploring the relations between Morocco and Spain, Tahar Ben Jelloun’s novel Partir provides a critical stance on migration and intercultural exchanges between Africa and Europe that transcends a unilateral indictment of European community-building policies and at the same time refrains from a heroization of the migrant plight as much as from the paternalizing approach it often disguises. Through what it defines as the “migrant bovarysm” in Partir, this article discusses Ben Jelloun’s ambivalent position on issues of exile and hospitality between Africa and Europe highlighting the joint (albeit different) responsibilities of the two continents. The idealizations and prejudices emerging from both Mediterranean shores confine the novel’s would-be Europeans to a liminal, spectral condition that ultimately alienates them from their homeland as much as from their receiving culture. Partir hence questions ethnic policies on a global scale and the liberating prospect of cultural hybridity as creolization beyond borders, by depicting the Mediterranean at once as threshold and bulwark between cultures.
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Indiana University Press
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