In his latest novel Rue des Syriens (Mercure de France, 2012) Raphaël Confiant presents a topic that had never been addressed in Martinican literature: the story of the Syrian-Lebanese migration to Martinique.
Description: In the late nineteenth century, hundreds of thousands of people from the countries of the Levant—Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan—emigrated to South America and the Caribbean archipelago. They were classified under the generic name of “Syrians.” Wadi is one of them. When he arrives in Fort de France in the 1920s, his is completely disoriented. He is looking for his uncle Bashar, who preceded him on his trip to Martinique at the beginning of the century.
Wadi has everything to build in this new country where he will live many adventures and come across many characters: the beautiful and whimsical retailer, Fanotte; Bec-en-Or the store announcer; Ti Momo the strong-arm cockfighting fan; masters of sorcery; a Chinese shopkeeper; a Hindu priest; and many others, all characteristic of a Caribbean melting pot. . . In celebrating the Levantines in Martinique, Rue des Syriens is also a great novel about integration, which calls for an identity-mosaic.
For more information (in French), see
For an interview with Confiant, see