Varieties of Romance in Contemporary Popular Togolese Literature

Authored by: Susanne Gehrmann

Routledge Handbook of African Popular Culture

Print publication date:  May  2022
Online publication date:  May  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367483869
eBook ISBN: 9781003080855
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the romance genre in Togo. After the death of President Eyadema in 2005, the cultural scene in Lomé has become more diversified. In this context, popular writing in French has been flourishing afresh over the last 15 years. Romance has known an impressive boom after 2010 and dominates the local book market by end of this decade. This chapter gives an overview on this development and points out the success of author Serge Azialé. Furthermore, the innovative writing of Jeannette Ahonsou, who combines patterns of crime fiction and romance in her novels of suspense, is introduced with a close reading of Le piège à conviction (The trap of conviction). The last section examines the adoption of the global wave of chick lit in the writing of Franco-Togolese author Lauren Ekué whose seminal novel Icône urbaine (Urban Icon) is analyzed. The chapter shows that in spite of its dominantly conservative and formulaic patterns, romance made in Togo is not a homogeneous genre. Male and female authors of different generations use it to express desires and dreams in contemporary urban settings that speak to large audiences. The scope of Togolese romance embraces a great variety, including elements of erotic fiction, crime fiction, social critique and chick lit.

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