"If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Vere Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the prime minister of Antigua. You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a prime minister would want an airport named after him - why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument. You are a tourist and you have not yet seen..." So begins Jamaica Kincaid's expansive essay, which shows us what we have not yet seen of the 10-by-12-mile island in the British West Indies.
Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple - handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet almost at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful façade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and verities of her employers' world and compares them with the vivid realities of her native place.
An adored only child, Annie has until recently lived an idyllic life. She is inseparable from her beautiful mother, a powerful presence at the very center of the little girl's existence. Loved and cherished, Annie grows and thrives within her mother's benign shadow. Looking back on her childhood, she reflects, "It was in such a paradise that I lived". When she turns 12, however, Annie's life changes in ways that are often mysterious to her.
New York City is not only The New Yorker magazine's place of origin and its sensibility's life blood, it is the heart of American literary culture. Wonderful Town, an anthology of superb short fiction by many of the magazine's most accomplished contributors, celebrates the 75-year marriage between a preeminent publication and its preeminent context with this collection of 20 of its best stories from (so to speak) home.
"Great stories and readers, but technically sloppy"
Powerful, disturbing, and stirring, Jamaica Kincaid's novel is the deeply charged story of a woman's life on the island of Dominica. Xuela Claudette Richardson, the daughter of a Carib mother and a half-Scottish, half-African father, loses her mother to death the moment she is born and must find her way on her own. The Autobiography of My Mother is a story of love, fear, loss, and the forging of character, an account of one woman's inexorable evolution, evoked in startling and magical poetry.
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.
"Could Not Listen to This One"
The Writer in the Garden adds up to a glorious compendium of writing that is amusing, original, and idiosyncratic. Excerpts span not only the beauties of the garden but such far-reaching topics as weeds, the tribulations of gardening in a cold climate, the dangers of rare plant collecting, the delights of weeding, the pitfalls of growing roses, and the place of "tacky" in a garden. The book is impeccably read by a group of professional actors.
Jamaica Kincaid's first obsession, the island of Antigua, comes vibrantly to life under the gaze of Mr. Potter, an illiterate taxi chauffeur who makes his living along the wide, open roads that pass the only towns he has ever seen and the graveyard where he will be buried. The sun shines squarely overhead, the ocean lies on every side, and suppressed passion fills the air. Misery infects the unstudied, slow pace of this island and of Mr. Potter's days. As the narrative unfolds in linked vignettes, his story becomes the story of a vital, crippled community.
The author of Annie John, Lucy, and The Autobiography of My Mother delves into her long-awaited new novel about a complicated modern family, featuring Mr. and Mrs. Sweet and their two children, Heracles and Persephone, who live in the Shirley Jackson house in Vermont. Kincaid discusses her novel with her old friend Ian Frazier (The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days).