L’Écran du bestiaire

Narration, indigenization, and strategic exoticism in Alain Mabanckou’s Mémoires de porc-épic and Patrice Nganang’s Temps de chien

Francosphères (2016), 5, (2), 167–182.


The most critically successful works of two Central African novelists writing in French, Alain Mabanckou and Patrice Nganang, are told from the point of view of a narrator who, for one reason or another, could be considered intellectually inferior to the average person. This article will show that by appropriating negative colonial stereotypes of Africans as child-like or animal-like, writers are able to provide a counter-discursive response to these stereotypes and gain greater stylistic freedom to indigenize the former colonial language, thanks to the intermediary of what we will call the intellectually subordinate narrator – a narrator who the reader expects, and therefore accepts, to be cognitively different. We will examine how this phenomenon works as a form of strategic exoticism in Mabankou’s Mémoires de porc-épic (2006) and Nganang’s Temps de chien (2001).


Author details

Welton, Jesse