Thursday, February 28, 2008
This week Mohan Bell shares a novel by Jamaica Kincaid
Last summer, I decided to read a novel named Lucy, simply because I felt guilt over only reading one of Jamaica Kincaid's works (Annie John). I did not expect anything more than a good nice pleasant read. I shared this small novel with my mother and sister, who started to share it with their friends. Based loosely on her life as a young Au Pair moving to America, it could be considered a coming of age novel, as well as a transnational work that speaks about living in a new world, much removed from the one accustomed to.
The protagonist, whose name we do not learn until the end of the novel, moves to America to work as an Au Pair in the home of a rich, white, Manhattan family. She thus becomes the outside spectator, looking into a perfect marriage falling apart. She also contends with her own blooming-out-of-sexual repression, while dealing with the painful emotions she feels towards her mother.
This novel means alot to me because it gives a viewpoint of the Caribbean that I knew as a child, as well as verbalize the opening up of ones self when you enter a new world with lifestyles far from your own. I would implore anyone to read this book to get a coming of age story that is nothing like the generic ones usually given, but filled with life, vibrancy and mature emotions. This book also has a voice, spoken in the first person, that is smooth and convincing. It takes a true master to use the voice of a normal person to speak and still maintain the dignity of their own artistic voice.