Aiming to provide a practical illustration of Edward Said's theorisation of ‘contrapuntal reading’, this article will read Jean-Luc Coatalem's Suite indochinoise (1993) as a counterpoint to Kim Lefèvre's Retour à la saison des pluies (1995). Both texts depict journeys from France to Vietnam. However, whilst Coatalem's narrative recounts his journey as a French tourist and travel writer, Lefèvre's text represents her journey as a Franco-Vietnamese exile ‘returning home’. Reading these texts ‘contrapuntally’ will enable a mutual illumination of discrepant, yet intertwined, European and non-European histories of French colonialism and the journeys on which this depended. It will show how the postcolonial journey of a Franco-Vietnamese female subject renegotiates the semantic field of travel at a particular historical moment, thus enabling a re-reading of contemporary travel literature in French, and foregrounding the possibility–for travellers habitually defined as ‘French’ or ‘Francophone’–of reciprocal, non-hierarchical dialogue between specific, yet interconnected, cultures.
|Translated title of the contribution||‘Contemporary travel to Vietnam: Jean-Luc Coatalem’s Suite indochinoise and Kim Lefèvre’s Retour à la saison des pluies’|
|Pages (from-to)||345 - 355|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Studies in Travel Writing|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2009|