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The autobiography of my mother
Jamaica Kincaid
Adult Fiction KINCAID

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Kincaid's third novel (after Annie John) is presented as the mesmerizing, harrowing, richly metaphorical autobiography of 70-year-old Xuela Claudette Richardson. Earthy, intractably antisocial, acridly introspective, morbidly obsessed with history and identity, conquest and colonialism, language and silence, Xuela recounts her life on the island of Dominica in the West Indies. In Kincaid's characteristically lucid, singsong prose, Xuela traces her evolution from a young girl to an old woman while interrogating the mysteries of her hybrid cultural origins and her parents, who failed to be parents: her mother died during childbirth; her often absent father, a cruel and petty island official, cultivates a veneer of respectability (``another skin over his real skin''), rendering him unrecognizable to his daughter. At 14, Xuela undertakes an affair with one of her father's friends, becomes pregnant and aborts the child. Experiencing that trauma as a rebirth (``I was a new person then''), she inaugurates a life of deliberate infertility, eventually becoming the assistant to a European doctor, whom she later marries. Xuela's Dominica, two generations after slavery, is a ``false paradise'' of reckless fathers and barren matrilinear relations, of tropical ferment, fecundity, witchcraft and slums, whose denizens resemble the walking dead. With aphoristic solemnity at times evocative of Ecclesiastes, Kincaid explores the full paradoxes of this extraordinary story, which, Xuela concludes, is at once the testament of the mother she never knew, of the mother she never allowed herself to be and of the children she refused to have. 75,000 first printing; major ad/ promo; author tour; translation, first serial, dramatic rights: Wylie, Aitken & Stone. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Sensual, jarring observations by a distanced yet obsessive narrator propel this work by the acclaimed author of Annie John (LJ 4/1/85) and Lucy (LJ 11/1/90). Raised without love and self-defined by her mother's death at the moment of her birth, Xuela regards life in her Dominican villages with disturbing disinterest and keen penetration. Her story of childhood, work, sexual experiences, and indifferent marriage shadow Xuela's matter-of-fact fascination with her own body, her understanding of the behaviors of conquered and conquering peoples, and her striking portrait of her vain, ambitious, contradictory father. Haunted by her mother's absence, Xuela ensures her own barrenness, endures a loveless affair with and marriage to the English doctor Philip, who loves her, and rejoices with stevedore Roland, whom she loves‘or claims to. Kincaid's dark, bold meditation of abandonment, separateness, abortion, childbirth, and orphanhood has a place in all substantive fiction collections.‘Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Xuela Claudette Richardson
Female
Age: 70
Mixed race
Her mother died in childbirth; child of a Carib mother and a Scottish-African father.



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