The next Litfest International Fiction Online Book Club meeting will be at 6.30pm on Monday 11 December 2023, when we will discuss our fifth modern classic of the year: Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau
‘You have to read this book’ Derek Walcott
Upon his entry into Texaco, the Christ was hit by a stone – an aggression that surprised no one. In those days, truth be said, we were all nervous …
On the edge of Fort de France, the capital of Martinique, squats a shanty town. It goes by the name of Texaco. One dawn, a stranger arrives – an urban planner, bearing news. Texaco is to be razed to the ground. And so he is lead to Marie-Sophie Laborieux, the ancient keeper of Texaco’s history, who invites her guest to take a seat and begins the true story of all that is to be lost. Texaco is a riotous collage of indigenous Caribbean and colonial European influences; a kaleidoscopic epic of slavery and revolution, superstition and imagination; a story of human deceits and desires played out to the backdrop of uncontrollable, all-powerful History.
‘He has been compared to modern masters like Joyce and Kafka, as well as Salman Rushdie and V. S. Naipaul, but his prose is more accurately described as Rabelaisian: erudite, vulgar, stupendously energetic. Yet the story is driven by an African beat, its syncopation measured like the percussive claves of its music. Just as you hear his sentences, you must hear the whole book; the differing intensities in the flow of its story, its ‘‘nonlinear’’ history, add complexity to the melodic line’ Leonard Michaels