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A Small Place Paperback – Apr 28 2000

3.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1 Reprint edition (April 28 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374527075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374527075
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.7 x 20.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 100 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #78,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

Kincaid here examines the geography and history of Antigua, where she was raised. We first see the island through the eyes of the typical North American tourist, who aims to exchange his or her own "everydayness" for that of someone without the same privilege. But rather than interpret Antiguan experience for outsiders, Kincaid lays bare the limits of her own understanding. She asks us to grasp the crime of empire in a new way, stressing that it can be understood only from a post-colonial point of view: surveying 20 years of a corrupt "free" government, she finds the inheritance of colonialism to be a commercial and governmental enterprise that serves individual interests. Antiguans, she effectively demonstrates, are ordinary people saddled with an unthinkable but unbreachable past. Mollie Brodsky, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, N.J.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Ms. Kincaid writes with passion and conviction . . . [with] a poet's understanding of how politics and history, private and public events, overlap and blur.” ―The New York Times

“A jeremiad of great clarity and force that one might have called torrential were the language not so finely controlled.” ―Salman Rushdie

“A rich and evocative prose that is also both urgent and poetic . . . Kincaid is a witness to what is happening in our West Indian back yards. And I trust her.” ―Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Kincaid continues to write with a unique, compelling voice that cannot be found anywhere else. Her small books are worth a pile of thicker--and hollower--ones.” ―San Francisco Chronicle

“This is truth, beautifully and powerfully stated . . . In truly lyrical language that makes you read aloud, [Kincaid] takes you from the dizzying blue of the Caribbean to the sewage of hotels and clubs where black Antiguans are only allowed to work . . . Truth, wisdom, insight, outrage, and cutting wit.” ―The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Wonderful reading . . . Tells more about the Caribbean in 80 pages than all the guidebooks.” ―The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
IF YOU GO to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have read the reviews and I must say that I think that are those who either speak with a guilty conscience, are in denial or just plain ignorant to the realities of life in the carribean. Although Kincaids book is based on the struggles of antigua it would be ideal tolook at Haiti and Jamaica and thier strugles. Jamaica is at war right now and struggling under a 12 Billion debt to the IMF. Farmers cannot Farm Their land and sell in their own market ...produce is imported from Miami. Milk Powder, rather than real milk produced in Jamaica is also imported as is everything else...restructuring policies placed by the IMF that make this so. Unemployement isn't an issue its a way of life. Kids not being able to go past basic school....due to lack of money. What dreams can a woman have? The realities is that if she does not higgle by the side of the road, work as a domestic in the hotels or as a seamstress in the sweat shops then WHAT SHALL BECOME OF HER? mabey if she looks good she can walk the beaches of negril and montego bay offering her body to the swarm of American,German, etc... tourists that are there to have a good time....
who could blame them?
I'm sorry if I come off angry but it really irks me that even those who reviewed the book and are from the carribean would try to make it seem as though the carribean isn't suffering under the effects of globalization....why then are you living in America, Engalnd and Canada? why did your parents seek out other countries and then work for years to bring every family member to theses countries of freedom and oppourtunity...Lets get real....want a wake up call? visit the carribean...really visit it do not stop in the tourist area rather go into the heart where the locals live...
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Format: Paperback
"A Small Place," by Jamaica Kincaid, is a nonfiction prose piece about the Caribbean island of Antigua. The author bio at the beginning of the book notes that the author was born on Antigua. A lean 81 pages, this is nonetheless a powerful text.
Kincaid discusses British colonialism, the corruption of the Antiguan government, racism, and greed. It seems to me a key question raised by the book is whether post-colonial Antigua is worse than colonial Antigua. The book is very much haunted by the spectre of New World slavery.
This book is a dark, angry jeremiad. I think it works better when seen as an extended prose poem rather than as an essay. As the latter, it could be criticized as full of invalid generalizations and undocumented claims. But as a poetic/prophetic text, it is chillingly effective.
Ultimately, Kincaid's vision of the human condition is extremely negative But her haunting, almost hypnotic prose really held me. I recommend the book to anyone planning a trip to a poor country for their own pleasure.
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Format: Paperback
Like other reviewer, I was little put off by Kincaid's politics.
But the first thing that struck me about this book was the tense and voice. Second person (?you do this, you do that.....?) isn?t very common in literature, so when I see it, it has an immediate effect on me. Now, in one sense, I admire the choice of this tense. It allows the narrator to talk directly to the reader, informing him or her. It also gives the narrator some freedom to literally paint a scene in the reader?s mind. Instead of going to all the trouble to create the hundreds of details necessary to allow the reader to place himself or herself in Antigua, Kincaid can accomplish this in one sentence. Granted, she goes on to provide the details (she points out the cars, the roads, the hospital, the beach, the sun, etc.) but as she does this she has some additional room with this tense to comment on these details and actually point out their significance.
Using this tense also lets Kincaid convey her opinion of the typical tourist who comes to Antigua. Using the second person present tense makes the book flow more like a conversation, and as such, allows me to imagine one particular narrator, a very specific person who is telling me this story and painting these pictures in my mind, filling in the details and their significance as we go along. And if I am not a middle class or upper middle class white American who travels to other countries, this works very well. If I am not a middle or upper class Briton, this also works. But if I am, as are many of the people who buy and read contemporary literature, this would put me out a bit. In fact, it would pretty well alienate me to this narrator. Kincaid?
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Format: Paperback
Kincaid's Small Place was an eye-opening journey to a small tropical island known as Antigua. The first part of the journey is told to you using "you" as a tourist to Antigua and "I" explains to you in detail how your trip is mapped out from the time you step off the plane to the time you arrive at your hotel. Kincaid is using herself as the "I" through out the book and refers to "you," the tourist, as coming from Europe or North America. Kincaid uses the "banking concept" to deposit information about how your trip would be mapped out step by step. The "I" speaks of how "you" leave the plane (page 4), how "you" will enter the cab and be miss quoted a price for fair (page 5), and the "I" will even explain how "you" are an out of place tourist that is an "ugly human being." (page 14) She poses questions to you along the way, but is definitive of how "you" will act and respond to your new surroundings.
As the book progresses, Kincaid switches her attention from "you" to the many questions and mysteries that have plagued Antigua since the British colonized the island to the time it was freed from England rule to how it is now. Kincaid does bring up problem posing questions to introduce many of the situations that occur in Antigua, but then usually proceeds to answer them using her experiences and history of Antigua. One example is the library that is pending repairs since 1974 (page 8,9), she poses questions not only to the reader, but also to herself during the journey. We are taken through a journey with her to find out what it will take to get the library up and running again. Kincaid's "I" makes sure you understand the differences of what "you," the tourist sees from your perspective to how the "I" perceives the tourist.
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