Speculations on the Mediterranean Borderscape: Le Baiser de Lampedusa
Authors of academic research on globalization often employ watery metaphors -fluidity, circulation, flows - in attempt to analyze the unlimitedness of movements of capital, commodities, ideas, and people. The frictionless sea has thus come to be the metaphor of circulation par excellence. Yet, in the last two decades, the hardening of migration policies all over Europe and beyond EU borders, which has aimed at strengthening a water-barrier between Europe and its “southern beyond”, compels for a consideration of the maritime space, the Mediterranean Sea, as b/order space(s). Through a geo-literary analysis of the novel Le Baiser de Lampedusa (2011) by Mounir Charfi, I will focus my attention on the ways in which the Mediterranean Sea is rendered, modeled and reflected as a b/order space in and through literary representation. The author through the close association of the ordinary and the fantastic, and employing a narrative mode that undermines realism, creates an alternative description of the Mediterranean borderscape in which basic assumptions of referentiality do not hold anymore. In fact, throughout the narrative, the notion of the Mediterranean sea is challenged and its visual appearance becomes blurred and disappears. As a consequence of its disappearance, continents shift and geographic regions are subverted. What emerges is first that the understanding of the Mediterrannean Sea as a b/order is put into question, and secondly, that geopolitical delimitations are not only arbitrary but also flexible. Therefore, the following article deals with the realm of counterfactual geography in border fiction.
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