Narrative Dynamics of Liminality in Naomi Fontaine’s Kuessipan (2011)

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    This essay deals with spatial and temporal representations of in-betweenness in Naomi Fontaine’s Kuessipan and the transformative power of the literary text as liminal zone. This condition of in-betweenness and the notion of the threshold are essential for the analysis of two complex and interrelated spaces in the book, the reserve and the land of the ancestors, as well as for the literary form adopted by Fontaine, connecting oral and literary traditions. The introduction, in which a brief overview of the development of First Nations literature in French is presented, is followed by some reflections on the relevance of the notion of liminality for the analysis of Fontaine’s novel. In the first part of this analysis, the tropes of space and time are examined within the framework of liminality and it is demonstrated that these are strongly connected and together form a complex network of memories and tradition, desires and hopes. The second part of the analysis examines the effects of transgression and transmission of the novel’s narrative form. It is argued that Kuessipan is an example of a threshold genre, combining written and oral traditions, thus creating the possibility for transformation and a future in which tradition and modernity are intertwined.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIn-Between - Liminal Spaces in Canadian Literature and Cultures
    EditorsStefan L. Brandt
    Place of PublicationFrankfurt am Main
    PublisherPeter Lang
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)9783631735756
    ISBN (Print)9783631735695
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    PublisherPeter Lang

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