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Reimagining North African immigrationIdentities in flux in French literature, television and film$
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Patrick Saveau and Veronique Machelidon

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780719099489

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719099489.001.0001

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Unearthing the father’s secret: postmemory and identity in harki and pied noir narratives

Unearthing the father’s secret: postmemory and identity in harki and pied noir narratives

(p.153) 9 Unearthing the father’s secret: postmemory and identity in harki and pied noir narratives
Reimagining North African immigration

Véronique Machelidon

Manchester University Press

Focusing on memories of the Algerian War of Independence, this article follows historian Benjamin Stora’s call to find common memorial spaces and bridge the gap between different memory groups involved in a traumatic past. It compares two literary works from different postcolonial constituencies, one written by a harki daughter, Dalila Kerchouche, and the other by a pied-noir son, Thierry Galdeano, both of which have at their core the search for the father’s secret linked to his role in the war. The discovery of the father’s mystery takes each narrator-protagonist on a postmemorial quest that results in personal growth, helping the two protagonists find their identity and place within French society. The article argues that only the pied noir son performs the reconciliation between harki and pied noir experiences, thus pointing to the possible creation of the sort of memorial bridge that can end the individual trauma and collective amnesia that are the postcolonial legacies of the Algerian War of Independence.

Keywords:   Identity, Postmemory, Father, Algerian War, Pied noir, Harki, Trauma, Amnesia, Marianne Hirsch, Benjamin Stora

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