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winter apples [86]); pink suggests the passion she feels in her origines:
'du feu se répand dans mes entrailles, du feu gicle en moi et illumine ce
que je touche, frontières misères tensions bancs de neige fondent à dis-
tance et se muent en lacs sacrés sur lesquels j'avance en dansant.' (98;
fire squirts out of me and illuminates whatever I touch, borders sorrows
tensions snowbanks melt from afar and become sacred lakes on which I
dance [86].) The fire she proposes to share with Ugo appears to imply, at
the same time, a broader rekindling of the embers of her adopted 'polar'
environment ('frontières misères tension bancs de neige').
Noir et blanc , dedicated to Dany Laferrière, the popular French-
Canadian writer born in Haiti, is clearly about race, but in its problematic
relation to ethnicity and culture. As the narrator, a Haitian immigrant to
Montreal, addresses himself apostrophically to Malcolm X, the ethnic
differences between American and Haitian blacks, as well as the cul-
tural differences between Chicago and Montreal, become readily ap-
parent. The narrator condemns Malcolm X's racism against whites
(expressed in Spike Lee's film), which has fuelled that of the narrator's
wife and children, citing examples of mistreatment on the part of all
races as a question of universal human (mis)behaviour: 'l'homme est
un loup pour l'homme, qu'il soit noir, jaune, ou vert martien' (141; men
prey on other men, whether they're black, yellow or Martian green
[125]). This story also creates a sense of relativism, as in the case of his
daughter's school: 'le fait que les Blancs de son collège ne s'assoient
jamais aux mêmes tables que les Haïtiens à la caféteria - remarque bien,
frère, que le contraire est tout aussi vrai.' (142; the whites never sit at the
same tables as the Haitians - but notice, brother, the opposite is equally
true [125].) The narrator vigorously defends Montreal - 'Est-ce que je ne
serais pas le premier informé s'il y avait du racisme à Montréal?' (140;
If there were racism in Montreal, wouldn't I be the first to know? [124])
- citing the adulation accorded to Dany Laferrière: 'un roi à Montréal'
(143). As he misquotes (and misunderstands) the title of a Laferrière
novel and discounts several examples of 'mild' racism, however, his
credibility is weakened, and his naivety again produces a satire of even
this most tolerant of cities, lending an overall effect of ambivalence to
the story. Again the white snow becomes a symbol of nature's purity,
contrasting with cultural imperfections, but not as a phenomenon that
eliminates all but Nordic experience: 'Mais quand la neige est blanche,
Montréal a l'air d'une jeune mariée. Quand la neige est vraiment
blanche, c'est là que c'est facile, c'est là qu'on peut marcher en imagi-
nant que c'est du sable.' (144; But when the snow is white, Montreal
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