Toward the promised land: Immigration and debt in fatou diome’s the belly of the atlantic

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In this article, I focus on the representation of the indebted immigrant in The Belly of the Atlantic (2003), a novel by Franco-Senegalese writer Fatou Diome. I analyze, in particular, the superposition of the question of Senegalese national debt and the personal debt of Senegalese immigrants living in France. As they leave countries drowning in national debt, immigrants acquire debts in order to finance their trips. Once they have arrived, they are told that they owe the nation they have settled in for providing opportunity. These dynamics are developed through the character of Moussa, a Senegalese youth who is contracted by a French soccer team. While Moussa and other characters in the novel articulate their relation to the global debt system, their experience is also never fully circumscribed by this system. They thus offer us lines of flight, ways of reimagining social interactions outside the logic of debt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-94
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in African Literatures
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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