Chamoiseau – Solibo Magnificent

Chamoiseau, Patrick. Solibo Magnificent. New York: Pantheon Books, 1988. Print.

The story of Solibo Mangnificent composed by Patrick Chamoiseau is an example of oraliture in that it combines the devices of both orature and literature. The “telling” of the story uses oral devices throughout the story, but then in the second section “After the Word: Document of the Memory” we are given a fuller “telling” of the story that approximates the way Solibo spoke with the people the night of his death. Here Solibo speaks of a place after death without French colonization; without “Arif-France, no bekes plantations or factories, or big stores (172).

In the third section, “Bringing the Word,” Rose-Myriam Réjouis gives the afterword supplying a greater context to understand Chamoiseau’s work. Réjoius helps the reader to understand Chamoiseau as the “word scratcher” making way for a “new” story writing now that Solibo, oral Créole expression is dying/ dead (177). She concludes that “Chamoiseau’s text is thus a tale about the birth of his own linguistic creativity (181); one that explores the plurality of voices – Créole and French and oral and literary.

Chamoiseau also charts out new territory by writing in his own invented language, one that neither those from Martinique of France speak, Fréole (a hybrid of French and Créole).

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