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Mr. Potter: A Novel
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Mr. Potter: A Novel

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  237 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The story of an ordinary man, his century, and his home: “Kincaid’s most poetic and affecting novel to date” (Robert Antoni, The Washington Post Book World)

Jamaica Kincaid’s first obssession, the island of Antigua, comes vibrantly to life under the gaze of Mr. Potter, an illiterate taxi chauffeur who makes his living along the roads that pass through the only towns he has
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 16th 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 487)
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Matthew Hittinger
At first the method of repetition turned me off, but I soldiered on and halfway through I began to understand what Kincaid was up to and accept some of the repetition in the following ways:

1. A refrain or chorus that is repeated throughout, such as the repeating of Mr. Potter's birth and death dates, who his parents were, who Elaine (the narrator's) parents were, that Potter could not read and could not write but Elaine could, and so forth--all facts that as they repeat and repeat accumulate in
I don't understand what I did to this book to make it hate me so much but the feeling is now mutual. The repetitions and childish taunts of the narrator would almost be funny but then a final, recycled parenthetical swoops in and shits on the shoulder of my favorite sweater. It's a daring fusion of fiction and memoir but not a successful one.
Akilah Zende
the book was okay and also the book was just alright and sometimes the book was good but mostly the book was just okay.
Kincaid, Jamaica. Mr. Potter. 1st ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. Print.

Jamaica Kincaid has written a beautifully lyrical prose about a father that she never knew personally but knew of. Mr. Potter details not only Kincaid’s family history, but also Antigua. She details in repetition the simplicity of life on her homeland of Antigua and subliminally shows that she has risen up and overcome the simple-ness. Kincaid’s personal history is well-known: born in 1949 into poverty on the
See Mr. Potter.
See Mr. Potter sit.
See Mr. Potter sit and think.
See Mr. Potter think about sun shining.
And then it was sunny.
And it was sunny all day long.
And oh my how it was sunny again and again.
But then the clouds came.
The clouds were very dark.
They darkened Mr. Potter's soul.
Mr. Potter did not want to sit and think anymore.
Mr. Potter dies because he cannot sit and think anymore.

The dull, nonsensical, repetitive, sing-song quality of the prose is still screaming in my head.

I wanted Mr. Pott
If the unexamined life is not worth living, this book exemplifies exactly why the unexamined life is not worth reading as well. Dull and repetitive. Yawn.
Joey Diamond
some deep stuff. poetic repetition. sad sad history. i sense she is doing some very deliberate writing back to colonialism in this and i think i need someone to explain it to me. the stuff about subjectivity was really good and brain warpy.

By Jamaica Kincaid. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. New York, 2002

One can read a novel and be transported to a distant island nestled in the Caribbean, and hear and see the sights native to that land and be left captivated. Mr. Potter by Jamaica Kincaid does just that. It’s filled with the sights and sounds of Antigua. It’s the story of Mr. Potter, his life, his sorrow, and his daughter. Yet, it’s not an ordinary novel, for it’s told through the eyes of Mr. Potter’s daughter wh
Placing a Man Under Investigation

Jamaica Kincaid
Mr. Potter
Farrar Strauss and Giroux, 2002

Mr. Potter tells the life story of the eponymous character as narrated by his daughter, Elaine. Set in a quiet community on the island of Antigua, the story delves into Mr. Potter's formative experiences, and later on, his adult life, discussing his relationships, or lack thereof, with other people, and how he became who he is. The use of the prose, the construction of the timeline, and the way that the imag
Thea Youngs
I think that this book might deserve a second read at some point. The style is very repetitive, and I think if I sat down and read it in one sitting I might begin to get more out of the style. I read this book in fits and starts, and it was tough going, since I basically felt like I read the same thing every time I sat down to it.
Mr. Potter is a meditation on grief and loss. An autobiography disguised as a novella, its repeating poetic prose -- at first difficult to endure -- becomes an almost chant; a delineating of wrongs and a settling of rights between Kincaid and the father she barely knew. In charting her father's lineage, in repeating key facts as Kincaid knows and feels them, she is placing herself in her father's life, even though he repeatedly rejected her. It is a fascinating and heartbreaking approach that, o ...more
The melodic narrative of this short novel has its pluses and minuses -- through the course of the book, it subtly reflects the complicated relationship between narrator and subject, but also kind of soothes the reader into a dangerously sleepy state that may require the book to be put down and picked up later. Having said that, I really enjoyed this and could imagine learning quite a bit more from it on closer inspection, analysis, or re-read.
Stylistically this book presents a fascinating blend of fiction, non-fiction, and metatext. Unfortunately it completely loses its subtext and depth to narrational withholding. Many times as a I read wanted to know more about who was telling the story, the whys, wheres, hows, and whatevers. Still, as a meditation on family ties v. family feuds it offers numerous insights to the patient reader.
Extraordinary book. Kinkaid has a looping, almost cyclical, style, zooming in to read her characters thoughts and shifting back to encompass the politics of race and vicissitudes of history. The novel is as much about her ability to read and write and thus be in control of the illiterate Mr Potter's story, as it is about growing up fatherless.
Lyrical memoir....1922-1992 Antigua....daughter repetitively describes life of her father in relation to her mother and herself. Use this book as a cushion after an intense book, the repetitive style is hypnotic after the initial annoyance.
I enjoyed this telling story of a girls father as told by a young girl, woman, stories from his childhood and the village. I also enjoyed the descriptions of Antigua and the unique way that Jamaica kincade tells a story.
This is rare, but a book I may not finish. It is a short book even! I cannot stand the way in which it is written. It keeps repeating and repeating and repeating and (Ha!).
I got a signed copy of this one! (from a reading of it by Jamaica on campus, back in the day).
Argh...I just couldn't get into this. Maybe I'll come back to it.
I think I'm enjoying the interesting narrative style....
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Jamaica Kincaid is a novelist, gardener, and former reporter for The New Yorker Magazine. She is a Professor of Literature at Claremont-McKenna College.
More about Jamaica Kincaid...
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