Rita's Reviews > The Autobiography of My Mother

The Autobiography of My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid
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's review
Jun 04, 12

bookshelves: coming-of-age, novels-set-in-other-countries
Read in June, 2012

1996. First publ. in The New Yorker.

I will want to read more of Kincaid [born 1949 in Antigua]. Her style reminds me of Gertrude Stein, the very simple sentences and lots of repetition.

There is a huge emphasis on the inner life. Feelings, differences between the perception of the main character and those around her.

Wonder if anyone will ever clarify the mystery of the words 'autobiography' and 'my mother' in the title.
I haven't found much on Kincaid's own life, except that she now lives 'with her family in Vermont'.

It's set in Roseau, Antigua. The 'I' character has a Carib mother [died during childbirth] and a father of mixed African and Scottish parentage. These facts are very important in the whole book, referred to often. Lots and lots of the feelings, attitudes, behavior are related to ethnic stereotypes, as well as gender ones.

"Kincaid has warned against interpreting her books' autobiographical elements too literally: "Everything I say is true, and everything I say is not true." "

recommended by Mary Louise

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