GETTING STARTED: TAKING CARS AND METAPHORS FOR A SPIN THROUGH HISTORY
Etymologically, "metaphor" is a Greek term signifying "transport" or a "carrying from one place to another." In The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau notes:
In Modern Athens, the vehicles of mass transportation are called metaphorai. To go to work or come home, one takes "a metaphor" – a bus or a train. Stories could also take this noble name: every day, they traverse and organize places; they select and link them together; they make sentences and itineraries out of them. They are spatial trajectories. (Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven F. Rendall. [Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011], 115)
Certeau's observation elevates stories to the status of metaphorai, claiming that they are "spatial trajectories" and that narrative structures function as "spatial syntaxes". Shared stories of collective memory thus become vehicles of mass transportation.
This book will take you on some stories, metaphors, or spatial trajectories by following the history of cars in French Colonial Indochina. Cars and stories are both metaphors, in the purest sense of the term, instruments that humans have used in order to produce a displacement