The Autobiography Of My Mother

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9780606299916: The Autobiography Of My Mother
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A seventy-year-old West Indian woman looks back over the course of her life and examines the relationships that have given meaning to her existence

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"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.

About the Author:

In a life not unlike those she writes about, Elaine Potter Richardson was born and raised on Antigua, a tiny island in the West Indies. Single-handedly raised by her struggling mother, she never knew her biological father. Brought up on a colonized island, Kincaid grew to harbor contempt toward the British regime, leery of the control they had. Having grown distant from her mother, she left home at 17 to become an au pair in New York, dyed her hair blonde, and changed her name to Jamaica Kincaid. She broke off all contact with her mother, took photography classes at the New School and made new friends. A few years later she entered the literary world with her first published article in Ingenue, an interview of Gloria Steinem. This led to her writing music critiques for the Village Voice. While accompanying a friend, George W.S. Trow, as he researched pieces for the New Yorker column "Talk of the Town," she started taking notes on events in the city. Trow passed her notes on to William Shawn, then the editor of the New Yorker, who spotted her talent and decided to print the notes as a piece. He went on to publish her first piece of fiction, an emotionally intense one-page monologue called "Girl," in 1978. A year later, Kincaid married his son Allen Shawn, a composer. She continued to write for the New Yorker until recently, when she left, unhappy with changes brought on by the new editor. Her first collection, At the Bottom of the River, was published in 1983, and soon after she began gaining a following as one of the decade's most notable new writers.

Often compared to other prominent authors such as Toni Morrison and V.S. Naipaul, Kincaid has continued to successfully produce acclaimed pieces of work, winning over critics and audiences alike. At the Bottom of the River received the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award. In 1985 she published Annie John, introducing readers to her unique and luminous prose that has set her apart from other novelists. A Small Place(1988) and Lucy (1991) followed shortly after. The Autobiography of My Mother, which took Kincaid five years to write, has received wide recognition, shooting to bestseller lists across the country, and is regarded as her finest novel yet. When Kincaid is not busy raising her two children or obsessing in her garden, her favorite pastime, she is teaching both fiction writing and English at Harvard one semester a year.

Kincaid has risen from an economic and racially challenged childhood to one of the most revered writers of our time. Using her experience and passion, she writes moving and unsettling stories about human suffering, politics, power, and the relationships tying them together. She has said that she writes "to make sense of it all" to herself, not directing her work at anyone in particular. No matter, Kincaid's contribution to the literary world will no doubt have an everlasting effect on those who read her work.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780374531874: The Autobiography of My Mother: A Novel (FSG Classics)

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Kincaid, Jamaica
Published by Demco Media (2004)
ISBN 10: 0606299912 ISBN 13: 9780606299916
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Better World Books
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Book Description Demco Media, 2004. Condition: Good. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP87136115

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