Lucy

Author: Jamaica Kincaid
Published: 1990
Website: Amazon page

Jamaica Kincaid is a fascinating author because of both her subject matter and the intensity she brings to the protagonist and her narrator. I decided to read Lucy after reading Kincaid’s A Small Place: a mainly second-person (and extremely angry) description of the island she grew up on (Antigua) and the influence of western culture on Antigua’s civic structure and government. Lucy traverses much of the same territory as Kincaid examines the relationship between the protagonist, an au pair named Lucy, and the family of six for whom she cares. The family of six wealthy and upper-class Americans is stereotypically western and subtly racist in its treatment of Lucy, which of course allows Kincaid to rail against western consumerism and American obliviousness toward other cultures.

What amazes me about Lucy is her presence in relation to the people with whom she communicates. Kincaid makes it almost seem like Lucy is interacting with a combination of objects and robots which go about their daily routines as Lucy stops to examine and play with each one. Kincaid has created a stationary world for Lucy to move through, and by using Lucy’s correspondence with her mother and flashbacks to Lucy’s childhood in Antigua, the tension between Lucy’s past experiences and her immigration to the United States is magnified. Kincaid’s writing is beautifully descriptive, and trying to analyze the authorial intent behind Kincaid’s descriptions of character interactions is very introspective, but Lucy’s mechanic foils and the lack of a strong narrator make me want to recommend A Small Place (one of the best books I read last year) to anyone who has not yet read anything by Kincaid.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: