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The Autobiography Of My Mother: A Novel

Kincaid, Jamaica

Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, 1996
ISBN 10: 0374107319 / ISBN 13: 9780374107314
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Bibliographic Details


Title: The Autobiography Of My Mother: A Novel

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Publication Date: 1996

Binding: hardcover

Book Condition: Very Good In Dustjacket

Edition: 1st Edition.

Description:

New York. 1996. Farrar Straus Giroux. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Dustjacket. 228 pages. hardcover. Signed by The Author. 0374107319. keywords: Literature Caribbean Black Women America. inventory # 22180. FROM THE PUBLISHER - ‘My mother died at the moment I was born, and so for my whole life there was nothing standing between myself and eternity; at my back was always a bleak, black wind.’ JAMAICA KINCAID's new novel is the haunting, deeply charged story of a woman's life on the island of Dominica. Xuela Claudette Richardson, daughter of a Carib mother and a half-Scottish, half- African father, was delivered to his laundress as an infant, bundled up like his clothes: ‘It is possible that he would have expected better care for one than the other, but which one I do not know, because he was a very vain man.’ Kincaid takes us from Xuela's childhood in a home where she could hear the song of the sea - ’sometimes as a soft swish, a lapping of waves against the shore of black stones, sometimes with the anger of water boiling in a cauldron resting unsteadily on a large fire' ' - to the tin-roofed room where she lives as a schoolgirl in the house of Jack LaBatte, who becomes her first lover. We learn about her passion for Roland, a stevedore who steals bolts of Irish linen for her from the ships he unloads, and her eventual marriage to an English doctor, Philip Bailey. Xuela's is an intensely physical world, redolent of overripe fruit, gentian violet, sulfur, and rain on the road, and it seethes with her sorrow, her deep sympathy for those who share her history, her fear of her father, her desperate loneliness. But underlying all is ‘the black room of the world’ that is Xuela's barrenness and motherlessness. The Autobiography of My Mother is a story of love, fear, loss, and the forging of a character, an account of one woman's inexorable evolution evoked in startling and magical poetry. Powerful, disturbing, stirring, it is Jamaica Kincaid's most remarkable work to date. Bookseller Inventory # 22180

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Book ratings provided by GoodReads:
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(1,863 ratings)

Synopsis: Narrated by an elderly West Indian woman looking back on her life, a story beginning at the height of imperialism and ending as colonialism fades deals with sex, human relations, and the interplay of power and powerlessness. By the author of Annie John. 75,000 first printing. Tour.

Review: "My mother died at the moment I was born, and so for my whole life there was nothing standing between myself and eternity," writes Jamaica Kincaid in this disturbing, compelling novel set on the island of Dominica. Born to a doomed Carib woman and a Scottish African policeman of increasing swagger and wealth, narrator Xuela spends a lifetime unanchored by family or love. She disdains the web of small and big lies that link others, allowing only pungent, earthy sensuality--a mix of blood and dirt and sex--to move her. Even answering its siren call, though, Xuela never loses sight of the sharp loss that launched her into the world and the doors through which she will take her leave.

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