Présence Francophone: Revue internationale de langue et de littérature


Building on Paul Ricoeur’s work on memory and forgetting, this article analyzes exile and identity in Linda Lê’s Calomnies, a novel that narrates the peregrinations of a young girl exiled from her native Vietnam because of French war but nevertheless living in France. Building on the contention that identity is somewhat problematic in exile, I argue that while the narrator’s resort to her relatives in order to remember her past, her struggle to battle oblivion often takes shape against the backdrop of collective memory. More specifically, I investigate Calomnies to show that the narrative of exile and the subsequent quest for identity in the novel open avenues to the representation of the land of refuge. Ultimately, it is my contention that even though the narrative of exile brings about a symbolic model in the representation of France as the land of refuge, the novel suggests the possibilities for understanding multicultural encounters.



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