Novels

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Annie John (1985)

“PARADISE WITH SNAKE” (The New York Times)

Author, Susan Kenney, reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s, Annie John on April 7, 1985 in the New York Times. She explores Kincaid’s fascination with the complex relationship between mothers and daughters. However, she centers her review around this quote: “It was in such a paradise that I lived” and expanded on how though we sometimes live in “paradise”, there will still be snakes.

“A new life for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Annie John'” (The Los Angeles Times)

Book editor, Carolyn Kellogg, wrote about Annie John winning the Clifton Fadiman Medal from the The Center for Fiction, on March 25, 2010. She referenced her colleague, Los Angeles Times book columnist, Elaine Kendall, who said “So neon-bright that the traditional story of a young girl’s passage into adolescence takes on a shimmering strangeness.”

“JAMAICA KINCAID’S “ANNIE JOHN” AND THE TRADITION OF BILDUNGSROMAN”  (Coco Caribe Blog)

Coco Caribe is a blog that promotes Caribbean culture and on March 16, 2014, the blog reviewed Annie John. They specifically explored the book and how it aligns with the Bildungsroman genre, which is “a type of novel concerned with the education, development, and maturing of a young protagonist”. Although, Bildungsroman is normally associated with European literacy with a white male protagonist, Coco Caribe believes that Annie John is a revision of the genre because “it is still a story that closely follows protagonist’s psychological and intellectual maturity and is anchored within European literary tradition, but Kincaid’s novel differs in terms of adding a new dimension: the main protagonist is female, black and living in a colonial country”.

“Jamaica Kincaid and Annie John: A Childhood Cut Short”  (Literary Traveler Review)

On September 20, 2006, Jennifer Ciotta blogged about her 1999 trip to the West Indies. During that time, she was introduced to West Indian writers, specifically Jamaica Kincaid. As she touched on Annie John, she compared Kincaid’s life to the main character’s, as well as she “tests the limits on ‘goodness'”.

“From Longing to Loss: Mother-Daughter Relationships in the Novels of Jamaica Kincaid”  (Florida State University)

In 2008, Shannon E. Seanor crafted a study based on her novels, where she talks about how Kincaid gives a powerful voice to women, especially Annie John. However, she also discusses how she explores slavery and colonialism and how they affected West Indian women.

“Obvious and Ordinary: Desire between Girls in Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John” (John Hopkins University)

In 2004, Keja Valens sparked a discussion based on how the female narrator announces her love for girls throughout the novel. Of course by mentioning that the novel is a “coming-of-age” story, she sounds like many other reviews. However, by tackling the story from the narrator’s sexuality, she sets her discussion a part from the others.

“Contextualizing Subjectivity: Speaking (Back to) Colonialism in Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, Lucy, and A Small Place” (Grand Valley State University) also touches on Lucy and A Small Place

In Sierra Holmes’ thesis (May 2014), she tackles how the female characters struggle to find their senses of self in Jamaica Kincaid’s novels.  In Annie John, Holmes sees how the narrator desires to find herself, but is attached to her mother so much, that it’s nearly impossible to do so.

Lucy (1990)

“Girl-Child in a Foreign Land”  (The New York Times)

Poet Thulani Davis, reviewed Lucy on October 28, 1990. She gives covers Lucy’s desire to leave her home of Antigua, only to discover that life away from home isn’t that great. However, Davis concludes that though Lucy is a great novel, with loads of descriptive language, it is still very scattered and a little confusing.

“Third-World Person Singular : LUCY By Jamaica Kincaid”  (The Los Angeles Times)

On October 21, 1990, Richard Deder believes that Lucy is very transparent and very angry. He explores Lucy’s anger, but makes a point to compare Lucy to a Third World country, because after she leaves her home of Antigua, she becomes linked to a woman named Mariah in New York, who she somehow gets tricked into slaving for.

The Autobiography of my Mother (1995)

“A World as Cruel as Job’s”  (The New York Times)

On February 4, 1996, Cathleen Schine reviewed this novel, praising it for being “elegantly and delicately composed”. Schine explains that though the main character doesn’t have that connection to her mother, their relationship is still so important to the story.

“Sculpted From Fire : THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY MOTHER, By Jamaica Kincaid”  (The Los Angeles Times)

On January 14, 1996, Richard Eder utilizes the irony that this story is told at the end of the main character’s life and is the autobiography of her mother, who died when she was born. He also calls the novel a “beautiful” and “harsh” story to read and write about.

“Dwight Garner reviews Jamaica Kincaid’s book “The Autobiography of My Mother””  (Salon.com) 

On January 13, 1996, journalist Dwight Garner reviews the novel, prior to an interview he conducted with Jamaica Kincaid. Calling this book Kincaid’s “most accomplished yet”, he makes the connection that the main character Xuela Richardson, may have been based off of Kincaid’s own life.

Mr. Potter (2003)

“Maya Jaggi follows an unresolved foray into past lives in Mr Potter by Jamaica Kincaid” (The Guardian)

The Guardian’s literary critic, Maya Jaggi, reviewed this work on August 2, 2002. She points out that while most of Kincaid’s works discuss mother-daughter relationships, Mr. Potter focuses on the “spectre” of an absent father, showcasing an “emotional truth” and leading readers to think that this book also mirrors Kincaid’s personal life.

See Now Then (2013)

“Jamaica Kincaid talks about ‘See Now Then'” – (Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Tribune’s Kevin Vance covered Kincaid’s See Now Then on February 16, 2013. Vance believes that under the surface, this book focuses on the aspect of time, as one of its characters says, “the seeing of Now being Then and how Then becomes Now”.

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Non-Fiction Books

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A Small Place (1988)

“Jamaica Kincaid’s Antigua” (The New York Times)

Lifestyle writer Monica Drake recently wrote about “A Small Place” on July 13, 2016, seemingly during her trip to Antigua. She talks about Kincaid’s discussion of colonialism and how Antigua became flooded with outsiders from “the Arawaks to the Caribs to the English who brought kidnapped Africans to work the sugar cane fields”

“Creighton Nicholas Brown — My Favorite Essay to Teach: Jamaica Kincaid’s “A Small Place”” (Assay Journal Blog)

On April 11, 2016, professor Creighton Nicholas explains why “A Small Place” is his essay to teach. Donning it a “travelogue”, Nicholas uses “A Small Place” to explore “post-colonialism, social and environmental justice, and issues of gender in the global South”.

“A Small Place” (Brown Girl Reading Blog)

The Brown Girl Blogger continued on her “discovery of Kincaid” by reading “A Small Place”, and she finds that Kincaid exposes the reader to the negatives in Antigua, specifically “ugliness of tourism” and “lack of decent education”.

“Beauty, pain, and A Small Place” (John E. Drabinski Blog)

On July 21, 2014, blogger John Drabinski covers the “beauty and pain” in “A Small Place”. He calls it “brilliant, polemical, and searching”. When discussing the “beauty and pain” he explains that Kincaid’s work shows the “simultaneity of beauty and pain in Caribbean history, memory, and landscape”.

My Brother (1997)

“The Past Is Another Country” (The New York Times)

On October 19, 1997, Anna Quindlen focuses on Kincaid’s use of “memory” in “My Brother”, as Kincaid reflects on her brother’s life and death from AIDS. Quindlen also believes that this story is a “lesson in constructing a memoir that resembles not a neat narrative but a meandering river of human memory, which ebbs and flows runs white with the rapids of rage and loss and then sages and stalls”.

“My Brother: A Memoir” (The San Francisco Chronicle)

Published in the San Francisco Chronicle in October 1997, Meredith Maran reviews Kincaid’s struggle between “her desire to forgive the suffering caused by her mother’s narcissism and her brother’s self-destructiveness” as well as “her need to distance herself from her pain and its perpetrators”. She talks about how Kincaid naturally filled the story with flashbacks and even scenes from her current life as a mother.

“The Dying of the Light” (Slate)

On October 22, 1997, book reviewer, Sarah Kerr, describes how Kincaid exposes her reader to something other than rage in this story. She calls rage “Kincaid’s strength”, and says that this story is different because it’s “sadly simple”.

Talk Stories (2001)

Kincaid’s ‘Talk Stories’: an early edge” (Baltimore Sun)

On February 18, 2001, Dan Rodicks and the “Sun Staff” review “Talk Stories”. They started by giving the backstory about how Kincaid, who was a writer for The New Yorker, work on a column called “The Talk of the Town”. Then they explained how her time as a “Talk” writer, morphed into “Talk Stories”.

Talk Jamaica” (January Magazine)

Sienna Powers details how Kincaid found a way to reveal her voice to her The New Yorker readers, despite the fact that the “Talk of the Town” had to have a “we” tone, which is something that all journalists are familiar with.

My Garden Book (2001)

Garden path leads to surprising places” (The Denver Post)

On February 7, 2008, Colleen Smith explores the meaning behind gardening, according to Kincaid. She starts with the roots, which cover Kincaid’s childhood and her early career with The New Yorker. Then she expands on Kincaid’s newfound love of gardening, in her life and what she displays in the story.

“My Garden (Book):” by Jamaica Kincaid” (Salon.com)

On December 20, 1999, the Salon.com team reviewed “My Garden Book”, claiming that Kincaid is paying “her most heartfelt homage” to Antigua, by gathering different pieces on gardening and gardens that she had published to meditate on the “joys and frustrations of gardening”.

Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas (2005)

In search of Eden” (The Guardian)

On April 15, 2005, Jill Sinclair tried to figure out the botanical connection between Kincaid and the garden. She refers to the constant reference point as Eden, which represents Kincaid’s own garden in Vermont. Sinclair finds that between Eden and the place where she takes a vacation, Kathmandu, Kincaid finds herself learning more about herself and ultimately her plants.

Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya by Jamaica Kincaid” (ricklibrarian review)

On July 27, 2015 blogger, Rick Librarian reviewed “Among Flowers”, claiming that it’s a great book for “seasoned armchair travelers. He briefly covered how this story was an account of her trip to Nepal with other gardeners to get seeds for her own garden in Vermont.

Short Story Collections

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At the Bottom of the River (1983)

Book Review: Off the Bookshelf – At the Bottom of the River” (The Austin Chronicle)

Reviewer, Laura Donnelly, reviewed the short story on January 12, 2001. She claimed that the story was a “lyrical collection of some of Jamaica Kincaid’s most provocative writing”, that begins so innocent but matures in content as it continues, similar to a journal.

15 Contemporary Short Story Collections By Women You Should Really Read” (Bustle)

On September 4, 2014, Gina Vaynshteyn gave a list of 15 short story collections that every woman should read, listing “At the Bottom of the River” at number 13. She claimed that the collection paints a picture of a Caribbean childhood that focuses on family and “female and male binaries”.

 

 

Jamaica Kincaid’s Interviews

Interviews or Discussions with/about Kincaid

10 Questions for Author Jamaica Kincaid” (Oprah.com)

In the March 2013 issue of O Magazine, Leigh Haber and the Oprah.com staff compiled a list of 10 questions to ask Kincaid ranging from whether her works are autobiographical, the influence of her mother on her writing, and where her love of gardening began.

Time Rules In Jamaica Kincaid’s New Novel, ‘See Now Then’” (NPR)

On March 3, 2013, the All Things Considered team interviewed Kincaid to promote her then new book See Now Then. They asked her about the book’s narrative, the themes of the book, and how her life is drawn in the novel.

“Jamaica Kincaid on writing and ‘outlaw American’ culture”  (USA Today)

On March 7, 2013, Nathan Rostron and “Bookish” interviewed Kincaid to talk about See Now Then, as well as Kincaid’s very literature, what books inspire her writing, and her views on immigration.

12 Reasons Why Writer Jamaica Kincaid Is A Total Badass” (The Huffington Post)

On October 24, 2014, Senior Reporter Joseph Erbentraut, provided 12 reasons why Kincaid is a “total badass”. The reasons are:

  • She’s humble
  • She doesn’t take life too seriously
  • She saves her nice side for students
  • She has no need for social media
  • She still loves literary classics such as Moby Dick
  • She doesn’t hesitate to address haters
  • She doesn’t appreciate labels
  • She doesn’t hesitate to speak on race
  • She’s good with changing her mind
  • She believes there are dumb questions
  • She’s got a sense of humor
  • She doesn’t care about noise or distractions

“Our Sassy Black Friend” Jamaica Kincaid“(Mother Jones)

For the January/February 2013 Mother Jones issue, Hannah Levintova interviewed Kincaid at her office at Claremont-McKenna College. They discussed See Now Then, her shortcomings as a mother, converting to Judaism, and how she was briefly a backup singer for a celebrity drag queen.

Jamaica Kincaid: People say I’m angry because I’m black and I’m a woman” (The American Reader/Salon.com)

On May 5, 2013, Alyssa Loh of The American Reader covered an interview at the World Voices Festival of International Literature. They discussed a variety of topics from mythology to race.

Does Truth Have a Tone?” (Guernica Magazine)

On June 17, 2013, Lauren K. Alleyne interviewed Kincaid about her writing, how she differentiates anger versus truth, race, and her latest novel, See Now Then.

INTERVIEW WITH JAMAICA KINCAID” (Believer Magazine)

In July 2003, Robert Birnbaum interviewed Kincaid at her home in Bennington, VT. They discuss parental responsibilities and how they vary, her interests in X-Men, The Matrix and Eminem, and more.