A study of intertextuality, intimacy and place in Barbara Adair's In Tangier we killed the blue parrot.
In my thesis, I argue that Barbara Adair's In Tangier We Killed the Blue Parrot can be viewed as a palimpsest. In this sense her re-inscription of the lives and fictions of lane and Paul Bowles in the International Zone of Tangier, Morocco, in the 1940s reflects on and is implicated in the contemporary South African Zeitgeist. Through illuminating the spatial and temporal connections between the literary text and the social text, I suggest that Adair's novel creates a space for the expression of new patterns of intimacy. The Bowleses' open marriage and their same-sex relationships with local Moroccans are complicated by hegemonies of race, class and gender. To illustrate the nature of these vexed intimacies I explore Paul's sadomasochistic relationship with the young hustler, Belquassim, revealing the emancipatory nature of the expatriate's erotic and violent encounter with the Other. Conversely, I suggest the shades of Orientalism and exoticism in this relationship. While Adair is innovative in her representation of the male characters, I argue that she perpetuates racial and gendered stereotypes in her representation of the female characters in the novel. lane is re-inscribed in myths of madness and selfdestruction, while her lover, Cherifa, vilified and unknowable, is depicted as a wicked witch. This study interrogates the process of selection and representation chosen by Adair, which proceeds from her own intentionality and positionality, as a South African, as a human rights law lecturer, as a (white) woman and as a woman writer. These explorations reveal the liberatory re-imagining of new patterns of intimacy, as well as the limitations of being bound by the implicit racial and gendered divisions of contemporary South African society.