Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Texaco” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.89  ·  Rating details ·  647 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Of black Martinican provenance, Patrick Chamoiseau gives us Texaco (winner of the Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary prize), an international literary achievement, tracing one hundred and fifty years of post-slavery Caribbean history: a novel that is as much about self-affirmation engendered by memory as it is about a quest for the adequacy of its own form.

Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 24th 1998 by Vintage (first published 1992)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Texaco, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Texaco

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  647 ratings  ·  71 reviews

Sort order
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A glorious work of world literature. This multi-generational novel is set in and around Saint-Pierre and Fort-de-France, Martinique. In the end it's the story about the shakedown of one impoverished "slum" or "shantytown"—Texaco—near modern-day Fort-de-France. The lives of the black people of Martinique are marked by trauma. At least half a dozen characters go mad during during the course of the novel. These are harrowing and riveting pages which are paradoxically rendered in a light and supple ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, france
This book is a rare tropical flower that somehow landed in my musty library. It speaks to us in many voices, as the original was written in a mélange of mulatto French and Martinican Creole. It communicates to us not only in two languages, but in four narrative voices, the main one being excerpted from the notebooks of one Marie-Sophie Labourieux, recording her own words and the thoughts of her father, Esternome. Three other voices are those of "Word Scratcher," alias Oiseau de Cham (a pun on Ch ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Texaco [1992] – ★★★★★

“You say “History” but that means nothing. So many lives, so many destinies, so many tracks go into the making of our unique path. You dare say History, but I say histories, stories. The one you take for the master stem of our manioc is but one stem among many others.…” “Some books shine through times, forever stirring spirits” [Chamoiseau, 1992/7: 325].

Some books have such a distinct, authentic voice, which tells of the plight of ordinary people, that they cannot fail to m
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-reads
What a mash-up of a story! By the time I got to the end, I'd completely forgotten that the book had started with the arrival of the city planner, and thus the ending came full circle. In order to tell the story of Texaco, the main narrator goes back to tell her father's story, which also tells the story of Martinique from that point forward. The book is a pleasure for anyone who: has read other Francophone Caribbean novels, doesn't need a purely linear plot line, and likes word play and creativi ...more
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This jewel was found in an Oxfam in Reading during the winter of 2004. Fuzzy strands of reviews past crackled in my dozy brain as I hefted it. The hunch proved correct and I was overwhelmed.

I have since bought another of his texts but have yet to take the plunge. Perhaps a reread of Texaco is due?
Read By RodKelly
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-owned
The translators of this novel make a joke in the introduction that if they made this book readable then they have failed in their job. This is definitely a difficult read that challenged me in several ways but it was worth it in the end!

Texaco charts the founding of a majestic city and it's lively quarter, populated by resplendent and provocative people who speak in parables and riddles, guided by ancient cosmologies and auditory dreams that bend time and reality, so that the clear facts are nev
Urenna Sander
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Madame Marie-Sophie Laborieux, born in the early 1900s, late in life to former slaves, Esternome Laborieux and Idoménée Carmélite Lapidaille. Long after her parents’ deaths, she founded the quarter known as Texaco in 1950, outside the city of Fort-de-France, Martinique. Texaco, owned by Texas Oil Company, had subsidiaries in South America and in the Caribbean. On Martinique, Texaco housed large tankers on land near a mangrove swamp.

Prior to Madame Laborieux deciding to build on Texaco’s propert
Marc Kozak
May 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
It would be so easy to compare this to Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. So I will.

This book is very similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude, in that it is a story of the creation of a small Martinican town as it struggles against the craziness of the world around it, and the craziness of the people in it. The story is bookended by an urban planner arriving in the small village, essentially deciding whether it should be razed for a shopping complex, or allowed to survive.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was recommended this book after I communicated -- to the umpteenth person -- my then-fascination with Aime Cesaire. Having then just read of his passing, I realized that I had never read him closely when required to in college. I promptly purchased and reread "Discourse on Colonialism" which I interpreted as a surrealist manifesto constructing a 'black identity' in resistance to Western European colonialism and hegemony.

This novel takes place in Martinique, Cesaire's birthplace and home. It s
Aug 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: francais
I had the fortunate experience of reading this sur place: I first opened the cover in Saint-Pierre, Martinique. In Texaco, Chamoiseau recounts episodes of construction and demolition that shaped modern, betonized Martinique. This book might be an essential to understanding the development of Creolism, or at least to the recent history of Madinina. It's unwieldy and long, but deserving of a second read and close attention.
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un pur délice...poétique et mélancolique au cœur de Fort de France, un voyage intense...j'adore ce livre.

Regard poétique absolu sur l histoire de la Martinique à travers de l'histoire du quartier Texaco...
Maria Carolina
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Achei Texaco um livro bem acima da média em termos de inventividade, complexidade na voz do narrador e no uso inusitado da língua, criando imagens bonitas e, às vezes, engraçadas. Gostaria de recomendá-lo a todos, de dá-lo de presente a tanta gente. É uma dessas coisas que você descobre e se pergunta por que tão pouca gente tem o privilégio de conhecer o trabalho de Chamoiseau no Brasil. A tradução de Rosa Freire D'Aguiar é também um ponto a mais, pois ela consegue transmitir ao livro boa parte ...more
Chiara Tomaselli
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone interested in witnessing the birth of urban life where no one expected!
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully rich and all consuming read. Chamoiseau's language is unique and unforgettable and though at times I couldn't follow his imagery, it didn't matter because the words, the prose was so lovely that I just enjoyed how he strung it all together. A great overview of the history of Martinique too - especially the plight of the black people who were struggling to maintain a grip on their land and their culture as changes in France so greatly affected their lives. Loved the main character, ...more
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The life of a slum in Port au Prince, Haiti--you come to see it the way the residents see it, not as a hellhole, but as home, a place of dream and possibility. Chamoiseau's main thrust is in the tension of language and its implications, between the spoken Creole of the people and written, official, colonial French. This guy will win the Nobel someday. You heard it here first.
Sep 30, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was recommended to me by Junot Diaz, who I met at Changing Hands. So far, so good. Thanks, Junot!
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
memory and ecological degradation in the caribbean
Andy Gagnon
Apr 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
Vince Will Iam
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Un livre envoûtant, extrêmement riche et précis dans sa reconstitution de l'histoire de la Martinique dans ce qu'elle a de plus de vigoureux, sa diversité ethnique et culturelle, son imaginaire débordant et la résilience de ses habitants.

C'est mon premier livre de Chamoiseau, le langage utilisé y est poétique et unique par l'association d'un français léché et de nombreuses locutions créoles qui lui confèrent une touche créole locale. (Qui aura forcément interpellé le locuteur de créole que je s
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Like most whypipo, I knew very little about the history of Martinique. This author brings the history of this tiny island to life. Starting in the 1700s, when bekes (white) owned humans kidnapped, or born, into slavery, and forced them with overseer whips to work in their Fields, their houses, make babies with them, through the 1800s, when Abolition created a false freedom, to the fight for keeping their tiny hutches in their shantytowns, Chamoiseau shares the word of the Storyteller, who stood ...more
Dimitris Kouris
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Chamoiseau a une écriture élaborée, riche et recherchée, emplie d'un humour fin. Cette œuvre biographique résulte d'un travail considérable qu'il explique à la fin du livre. Je l'ai lu pendant mon voyage en Martinique et je l'ai trouvé très intéressant, mais relativement long, ce n'est pas vraiment un roman de plage!
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Très beau texte même si j'ai eu du mal à suivre après quelques chapitres. Il manque, à mon goût, quelques pieds de page pour expliquer les références créôles ou martiniquaises pour le lecteur non initié à cette culture.
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Possibly the best thing I've ever read. A brilliant assertion of the legitimacy of the Martiniquan language and culture in its own right. The way Chamoiseau weaves French and Creole together is a way of claiming the language.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty neat prose and structure, and when was the last time you read a book from Martinique?
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
J’ai laissé tomber de lire ce livre. Je n’arrivais pas à rentrer dans l’histoire et je ne comprenais pas un mot sur deux.
Esta obra de Patrick Chamoiseau, autor da Martinica, foca a criação de uma cidade em paralelo com o percurso de 3 gerações da mesma família, da escravidão até aos tempos actuais. A obra ganhou o prémio Goncourt em 1992.
Obra interessante pela visão poética da cultura das Antilhas, dos seus costumes, da evolução social e política, dos interesses dos habitantes pela "metrópole" França...
Leitura em francês difícil pela impressão de oralidade imposta pelos diálogos entre-cortados por crioulo.

Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On n'entre pas très facilement dans l'univers de ce roman, mais une fois dedans on est enclin d'y rester un moment. Chamoiseau concocte son récit dans une langue si richement inventive, mélangeant les registres à sa façon, comme-ci , comme-ça, que ça donne forcément quelques passages difficiles à pénétrer. Patience; en se donnant un peu de peine pour se mettre dans le rythme, on est pleinement récompensé par ce récit foisonnant de l'âme antillais. Je ne dirais pas que ce roman atteint la perfect ...more
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
This book probably gets a 5-star rating if you are from Martinique. But I am not from Martinique. And even if I was from Martinique, I would probably only give this 5-stars if I was black. Not white or mulatto, but maybe if I thought I was part Carib. Or if I was white or mulatto and felt sorry for my people being such bastards to the blacks for the last 300 years.

This story of the black experience in Martinique, from the slave ships, to the sugar plantations, to the Rights of Man, to "freedom,
Dara Salley
This is the second novel I’ve read by an author from the Caribbean. The other novel was “The Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys, which is now one of my favorite books. This book had a slightly different point of view because Rhys was a white whereas Patrick Chamoiseau is black. The race distinctions are apparently very important in Martinique and both books spend a lot of time discussing their implications.

One of the things I loved about “The Wide Sargasso Sea” was the unusual language. The sentenc
Ale Vergara
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Tardé meses en la lectura. Creo que es un libro que pierde mucho en la traducción, sin embargo el despliegue y desarrollo del lenguaje son tales que incluso se alcanzan a notar en la edición en español. Texaco es una novela cercana al realismo mágico y no me sorprendería que haya quien la catalogue ahí a pesar de ser escrita tantos años después del boom. Creo que catalogar este libro como realismo mágico es caer un poco en la mirada exotizante que suele acompañar al término.

Durante la lectura n
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Black Shack Alley
  • Crossing the Mangrove
  • Love, Anger, Madness: A Haitian Trilogy
  • Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
  • The Bridge of Beyond
  • Poetics of Relation
  • Unburnable
  • Abeng
  • The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy
  • Palace of the Peacock
  • In Another Place, Not Here
  • The Chosen Place, The Timeless People
  • The Truth About Marie
  • Un ange cornu avec des ailes de tôle
  • The Dragon Can't Dance
  • A Splendid Conspiracy
  • The Alley Cat
  • Blue White Red
Patrick Chamoiseau is a French author from Martinique known for his work in the créolité movement.

Chamoiseau was born on December 3, 1953 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, where he currently resides. After he studied law in Paris he returned to Martinique inspired by Édouard Glissant to take a close interest in Creole culture. Chamoiseau is the author of a historical work on the Antilles under the re
“Réchauffe ta parole avant de la dire. Parle dans ton cœur. Savoir parler c'est savoir retenir sa parole. Parler vraiment c'est d'abord astiquer du silence. Le vrai silence est un endroit de La Parole. Écoute les vrais Conteurs.” 0 likes
“Les vies n'ont pas de sens en fait, elles vont et viennent souvent comme des tsunamis, avec le même fracas, et elles drainent des débris qui croupissent dans ta tête comme autant de reliques, qui te semblent des trésors et ne tiennent pas la position.” 0 likes
More quotes…