In See Now Then, the brilliant and evocative new novel from Jamaica Kincaid (her first in 10 years), a marriage is revealed in all its joys and agonies. This piercing examination of the manifold ways in which the passing of time operates on the human consciousness unfolds gracefully, and Kincaid inhabits each of her characters - a mother, father, and two children living in a small village in New England - as they move, in their own minds, between the present, the past, and the future. For, as she writes, "the present will be a now then and the past is now then and the future will be a now then." Her characters, constrained by the world, despair in their domestic situations. But their minds wander, trying to make linear sense of what is, in fact, nonlinear.
See Now Then is Kincaid’s attempt to make clear what is unclear, and to make unclear what we assumed was clear: that is, the beginning, the middle, and the end. Since the publication of her first short story collection, At the Bottom of the River, nominated for a PEN / Faulkner Award for fiction, Jamaica Kincaid has demonstrated a unique talent for seeing beyond and through the surface of things. In See Now Then, she envelops the listener in a world that is both familiar and startling - creating her most emotionally and thematically daring work yet.
©2013 Jamaica Kincaid (P)2013 Macmillan Audio
Since taking my first creative writing class in 2008 the pleasure I used to get from reading has been greatly reduced. I notice things I never noticed before. That said, I think I rate books pretty generously. Anyone who actually manages to write a whole book and then get it published deserves an extra star.
Kincaid has done away with any real semblance of plot in this masterful, stream-of-consciousness "rant" about a marriage gone downhill. She has an endearing slant on southern Vermont and its inhabitants, and there's a lot of humor in this book, and some "ha ha" moments, even though the subject is actually sad and hopeless. Kincaid's narration adds authenticity to the narration. I enjoyed the story but by the end I'd had enough.
The story was ok. I just had to read it instead of listen. Ms. Kincaid's voice and intonation made it painful to listen to the book.
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