Disjunctive Palimpsest Tracing the French Detective in Postcolonial Laos

Main Article Content

Panida BoonthaveveJ

Abstract

            This article offers a study of a crime series written by Colin Cotterill (b. 1952), between 2004 and 2020, featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun, the national coroner of the Lao PDR in the late 1970s. It first focuses on the series’s palimpsestuous relation with the detective fiction of Georges Simenon (1903-1989), published between 1931 and 1972, whose main character is Inspector Jules Maigret of the French Criminal Investigation Division. Afterwards, a critical intersection of Gérard Genette’s concept of hypertextuality and Homi K. Bhabha’s notions of mimicry and hybridity establishes the Siri Paiboun series as a hypertext upon which the hypotext of Inspector Maigret has been grafted. Nonetheless, the study problematizes the palimpsestuous relation of the two series, contending that the Siri Paiboun series operates as a site where colonial mimicry deviates from and later disrupts the authority of colonial discourse epitomized by the convention of French police novels. The generic disjuncture, termed as hybridity (Bhabha, 2007), it is argued, manifests an attempt to engage French detective fiction within a different cultural context. Traversing national divides, the British author makes use of the genre, first, to delegitimize its colonial authority by questioning the status of Simenon’s series as a model of roman policier, and, second, to criticize the Lao dysfunctional judicial system while his Belgian predecessor seeks to endorse the institutional authority of the French police force, whereby crimes are punished and the rule of law is upheld.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Section
Research articles and Thesis

References

Alder, B. (2013). Maigret, Simenon and France: Social dimensions of the novels and stories. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company.

Bhabha, H. K. (2007). The location of culture. London: Routledge.

Calvet, C. (2014). Du récit à l’envers au récit de l’envers: The imprint of the palimpsest in Simenon. In A. Kimyongür & A. Wigelsworth (Eds.), Rewriting wrongs: French crime fiction and the palimpsest (pp. 63-78) (N. Vincent-Arnaud & A. Wigelsworth, Trans.). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Christian, E. (2001). Introducing the post-colonial detective: Putting marginality to work. In E. Christian (Ed.), The post-colonial detective (pp. 1-16). New York: Palgrave.

Christian, E. (2010). Ethnic postcolonial crime and detection (Anglophone). In C. J. Rzepka & L. Horsley (Eds.), A companion to crime fiction (pp. 284-295). Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

Cotterill, C. (2004). The coroner’s lunch. New York: Soho Press.

Cotterill, C. (2005). Thirty-three teeth. New York: Soho Press.

Cotterill, C. (2007). Anarchy and old dogs. New York: Soho Press.

Cotterill, C. (2008). Curse of the pogo stick. New York: Soho Press.

Cotterill, C. (2009). The merry misogynist. New York: Soho Press.

Cotterill, C. (2010). Love songs from a shallow grave. New York: Soho Press.

Cotterill, C. (2011). Slash and burn. New York: Soho Press.

Cotterill, C. (2013). The woman who wouldn’t die. New York: Soho Press.

Cotterill, C. (2015). Six and a half deadly sins. New York: Soho Press.

Cotterill, C. (2016). I shot the Buddha. New York: Soho Press.

Geherin, D. (2008). Scene of the crime: The importance of place in crime and mystery fiction. Jefferson: McFarland.

Genette, G. (1997). Palimpsests: Literature in the second degree (C. Newman & C. Doubinsky, Trans.). Lincoln, N.E.: The University of Nebraska Press.

Knepper, W. (2006). Confession, autopsy and the postcolonial postmortems of Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost. In C. Matzke & S.

Mühleisen (Eds.), Postcolonial postmortems: Crime fiction from a transcultural perspective (pp. 35-57). Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Knight, S. (1980). Form and ideology in crime fiction. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Matzke, C., & Mühleisen, S. (2006). Postcolonial postmortems: Issues and perspectives. In C. Matzke & S. Mühleisen (Eds.), Postcolonial postmortems: Crime fiction from a transcultural perspective (pp. 1-16). Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Mills, K. O. (2007). Duality: The human nature of detective fiction. In L. Martz & A. Higgie (Eds.), Questions of identity in detective fiction (pp. 175-182). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Porter, D. (1981). The pursuit of crime: Art and ideology in detective fiction. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Pyrhönen, H. (2010). Criticism and theory. In C. J. Rzepka & L. Horsley (Eds.), A companion to crime fiction (pp. 43-56). Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

Scaggs, J. (2005). Crime fiction. London: Routledge.

Schütt, S. A. (2003). French crime fiction. In M. Priestman (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to crime fiction (pp. 59-76). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Simenon, G. (1966). Maigret bides his time. Trans. Alastair Hamilton. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Simenon, G. (2013). Pietr the Latvian (D. Bellos, Trans.). London: Penguin Books.

Simenon, G. (2014a). The Flemish house (S. Whiteside, Trans.). London: Penguin Books.

Simenon, G. (2014b). The hanged man of Saint-Pholien (L. Coverdale, Trans.). London: Penguin Books.

Simenon, G. (2014c). A man’s head (D. Coward, Trans.). London: Penguin Books.

Simenon, G. (2015a). Inspector Cadaver (W. Hobson, Trans.). London: Penguin Books.

Simenon, G. (2015b). Signed, Picpus (D. Coward, Trans.). London: Penguin Books.

Simenon, G. (2015c). The madman of Bergerac (R. Schwartz, Trans.). London: Penguin Books.

Thompson, J. (1993). Fiction, crime, and empire: Clues to modernity and postmodernism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Worthington, H. (2011). Key concepts in crime fiction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.