Where can I get a full review of Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnificent?  (Please provide a full review.)

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You can “get a full review” of Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnificent precisely by doing what you did:  asking the question on eNotes.  Now I can provide one for you.  (Our eNotes Study Guides often contain the summary, themes, characters, etc.  However, they usually do not contain a “review,” which...

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You can “get a full review” of Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnificent precisely by doing what you did:  asking the question on eNotes.  Now I can provide one for you.  (Our eNotes Study Guides often contain the summary, themes, characters, etc.  However, they usually do not contain a “review,” which is a determination about what the novel is attempting to do and the rationalization as to whether the author did so well.)

Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnificent combines formal French language with Creole vernacular.  This makes the novel a very interesting piece and an effort to keep Creole alive.  (Translation into English provides an even further fun issue.)  This novel is about story-telling through the use of language and how the translation of that language can change its meaning.  Patrick Chamoiseau is a master at this in Solibo Magnificent.

For example, Solibo Magnificent is dying at the beginning while exclaiming “patat’ sa!” (“that potato!”).  During Carnival, call and response is typical; therefore, the people surrounding him do not know he is dying.  Solibo Magnificent and his death are synonymous with the death of the Creole language through storytelling.  Chamoiseau wants to prevent his own death in the same way; therefore, he tries to tell the story through written word.  The story does not live on in the same way (which is precisely Chamoiseau’s point).   

The novel then travels through the investigation of Solibo Magnificent’s death by the police.  Although some believe Solibo’s death to be natural, Pilon (the inspector) thinks that foul play was involved.  The importance here is that Pilon speaks formal French and not Creole; therefore, he has no imaginative approach to the investigation and, therefore, cannot see the truth.  The real truth can be found within the stories of the bystanders who speak in Creole.  In this way, the characters also tell stories (like Solibo once did) and continue the Creole language.  Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnificent can now be seen as an expression of the division between the formal authority and the common folk of Martinique. 

Thus, Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnificent expertly shows how languages should be preserved while preserving its very own:  Creole. 

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