Author(s): Ananda Devi
Jointly published in the UK by CB editions and Les Fugitives, this celebrated novel exposing the underbelly of a Francophone tourist island through the eyes of rebellious youths won the 2006 Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie.
Devi does an excellent job of inhabiting the heads and capturing the patterns of thought that occur just on the brink of consciousness of the four narrators of this account of young lives in the slums of Port Louis in Mauritius. Just as a plughole communicates its force at all times to the entire contents of a basin, even to the molecules that have not yet begun to circle or descend, there is throughout the book a sense that a hopeless future is pulling upon the characters, that their descent will be at first slow and then sudden, that the world for them is tilted and greased, that their voices are impermanent, that they will become those that now harm them and are caught by harm. “One day we wake up and the future has disappeared.” In a milieu where the energies of sex and violence already run in the same channels, where currency is extracted in rape, beatings and murder, how can the voices of individuals, and how can moments of happiness and beauty, be preserved as more than corruscations swallowed, first slowly and then suddenly, by future shadow? Is to fight against your fate a way of preserving your independence from it, for a short moment at least, or does fighting it draw it more tightly entangled upon you?