"There Are No Sharks in the Sky"

By: Nicole Roberts  

Caribbean Cultural Studies is today an area which seeks to legitimise the narration of experiences by those who have lived such. My interest in this paper lies specifically with the representation of identity in Puerto Rico and by extension the Hispanic Caribbean and on the ways in which contemporary Hispanic Caribbean narrative is a site in which constructions of alterity highlight the re-imaginations of identity. Undoubtedly, how the Caribbean frames itself is of paramount importance in terms of self-scrutiny, so that we not only affirm our Caribbeanness but also understand the textured reality of Caribbean life. In this paper, I make a close critical reading of the novel "Cualquier miércoles soy tuya" by the Afro-Hispanic, Puerto Rican writer Mayra Santos Febres. Set in contemporary Puerto Rico, the novel is a fiction noir which recounts the transient life of the urban underclass in San Juan and in which two murders take place. My analysis deconstructs the positionings of Blacks in popular Caribbean culture to suggest ways in which these can be viewed as sites of resistance. Throughout the novel, Santos Febres chronicles the experiences of the Caribbean people but perhaps most importantly she also presents Caribbean identity as defiant despite the challenges confronted.

"Afro-Hispanic Literature", " Caribbean Identity", " Identity and Difference"
Literary Humanities
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr Nicole Roberts

Senior Lecturer, Modern Languages and Linguistics, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago
-, Trinidad and Tobago

Nicole Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in Spanish at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. She is also a translator. With a prime concentration on Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, Dr Roberts’ research explores identity and race thinking in Hispanic Caribbean cultural production. To date, she has published in the areas of race and ethnicity in the Hispanic Caribbean, as well as afro-hispanic literature and culture. Her book-length publications include Main Themes in Twentieth Century Afro-Hispanic Caribbean Poetry: A Literary Sociology, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press, 2009 and Border Crossings: A Trilingual Anthology of Short Narrative by Caribbean Women Writers, (co-edited with Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw), Jamaica: UWI Press, 2012.