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At the Bottom of the River Paperback – October 15, 2000
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Jamaica Kincaid's At the Bottom of the River ... inspired, lyrical short stories
Reading Jamaica Kincaid is to plunge, gently, into another way of seeing both the physical world and its elusive inhabitants. Her voice is, by turns, naively whimsical and biblical in its assurance, and it speaks of what is partially remembered partly divined. The memories often concern a childhood in the Caribbean--family, manners, and landscape--as distilled and transformed by Kincaid's special style and vision.
Kincaid leads her readers to consider, as if for the first time, the powerful ties between mother and child; the beauty and destructiveness of nature; the gulf between the masculine and the feminine; the significance of familiar things--a house, a cup, a pen. Transfiguring our human form and our surroundings--shedding skin, darkening an afternoon, painting a perfect place--these stories tell us something we didn't know, in a way we hadn't expected.
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About the Author
Jamaica Kincaid was born in St. John's, Antigua. Her books include At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, and My Brother. She lives with her family in Vermont.
- Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (October 15, 2000)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 96 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0374527342
- ISBN-13 : 978-0374527341
- Item Weight : 3.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.57 x 0.27 x 7.73 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #647,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Ms. Kincaid writes this piece in a style that is deeply dense and in a way we are able to see, on the pages, a character's mind, discovery, understanding and wonder (no part of nature is left unturned). We are even privy to questions and philosophy and resignations about life and death. In this piece Ms. Kincaid gives new meaning to "the universal eye".
At the Bottom of the River is brilliant, genius! A must read!
This collection begins innocently enough with one of Kincaid's most impacting writings, Girl. Girl is one of the most severe but accurate depictions of the volatile intensity between mother and daughter. Fueled by a combination of love, fear, and partial loathing, a mother doles out a mantra of life lessons with equal parts concern and venom: "When buying cotton to make yourself a nice blouse, be sure that it doesn't have gum on it, because that way it won't hold up well after a wash. ... Always eat your food in such a way that it won't turn someone else's stomach; on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the (...) you are so bent on becoming." The essays that follow are sinewy with sexual, violent, and spiritual themes.
Kincaid's strength lies in her rage. One senses it above all in her amazing control over words, which, while extremely satisfying on the level of literary technique, also comes across as a refusal to be vulnerable and a reply to anyone who would try to keep her down.
Like a journal, 'At the Bottom of the River' matures in content as it proceeds. Kincaid's prose-poetry initially appears whimsical (she describes some pebbles as "not pebbly enough") and that's the mystique of her writing, how it almost capriciously masks cerebral contemplations on living, dying, and the struggle in-between.