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Abstract

Reading Paule Marshall’s 2009 memoir Triangular Road as a biomythography illumines the ways in which the African diaspora is imagined in and through personal and collective narrative. African diaspora studies has sought to map the historical moments, cultural practices, political considerations, and geographical and conceptual spaces that constitute the African diaspora. This article explores how biomythography can possibly map African diaspora discourse beyond the temporal and the spatial. Triangular Road connects diasporic movement and misunderstanding. It uses the concept of bodies of water to map Marshall’s life path. It crosses the lines of official nation-state representations, social gatherings, and international cultural exchange. As biomythography it uses the memoir form to both refute the singularity of an autobiography, rooting Marshall’s story in the communities she has moved through and existed within, and meld the realities of what she can know of those communities with the fantasies she produces in place of absent histories. Marshall’s text crosses generations of literary artistry, nation-building, and diasporic longing. In conversation with other Caribbean women’s biomythographies such as Audre Lorde’s Zami, Triangular Road helps us to navigate the intentionally fuzzy lines between fiction and history, between the personal and the communal, between the rootedness of lands we know and the fluid possibilities of the waters that both separate and join them.

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