Cover image for Jamaica Kincaid : a critical companion
Jamaica Kincaid : a critical companion
Paravisini-Gebert, Lizabeth.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xi, 182 pages ; 25 cm.
Reading Level:
1530 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR9275.A583 K566 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



With the publication of her novel Annie John in 1985, Jamaica Kincaid entered the ranks of the best novelists of her generation. Her three autobiographical novels, Annie John , Lucy , and Autobiography of My Mother , and collection of short stories, At the Bottom of the River , touch on the universal theme of coming-of-age and the female adolescent's need to sever her ties to her mother. This angst is couched in the social landscape of post-colonial Antigua, a small Caribbean island whose legacy of racism affects Kincaid's protagonists. Her fiction rewrites the history of the Caribbean from a West Indies perspective and this milieu colors the experiences of her characters.

Following a biographical chapter, Paravisini-Gebert traces the development of Kincaid's craft as a writer. Each of the novels and the collection of short stories is discussed in a separate chapter that includes sections on plot, character, theme, and an alternate critical approach from which to read the novel, such as feminist. A complete primary and secondary bibliography and lists of selected reviews of Kincaid's work complete the study.

Author Notes

LIZABETH PARAVISINI-GEBERT is Professor of Hispanic and African Studies at Vassar College. She is the author of Phyllis Shand Allfrey: A Caribbean Life (1996) and co-author of Caribbean Women Novelists (Greenwood, 1993).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Kincaid's literary production reflects autobiographical memories and her social and ethnic experiences as an immigrant woman writer from the Caribbean. Born on the island of Antigua in 1949, Kincaid migrated at age 16 to New York City and worked as a nanny for an upper-class family. In this crafted, detailed biocritical study, Paravisini-Gebert (Vassar College) traces Kincaid's literary development, from her British-dominated schooling in Antigua to her astonishing career as a freelance writer for various journals and magazines--including the New Yorker. The author examines how Kincaid's work reflects key events in her life, including her difficult relationship with her mother, her struggle to complete her formal education in New York, and her initial development as a budding writer. Caribbean scholars will be particularly interested in Paravisini-Gebert's critical observations on the influence of Obeah, an African-based religious system prevalent among Antigua's black population. Paravisini-Gebert also addresses Kincaid's comments on "colonialism and racism in the Caribbean and its impact on the relationships between women of different races and classes"--a leitmotiv in Kincaid's production. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. R. Ocasio; Agnes Scott College

Table of Contents

Advisory Boardp. vi
Series Forewordp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Abbreviationsp. xv
1 The Life of Jamaica Kincaidp. 1
2 From Elaine Potter Richardson to Jamaica Kincaidp. 23
3 At the Bottom of the River (1983)p. 49
4 Annie John (1985)p. 85
5 Lucy (1990)p. 117
6 The Autobiography of My Mother (1997)p. 143
Bibliographyp. 165
Indexp. 179
About the Authorp. 183