Understanding Jamaica Kincaid introduces readers to the prizewinning author best known for the novels Annie John, Lucy, and The Autobiography of My Mother. Justin D. Edwards surveys Jamaica Kincaid's life, career, and major works of fiction and nonfiction to identify and discuss her recurring interests in familial relations, Caribbean culture, and the aftermath of colonialism and exploitation. In addition to examining the haunting prose, rich detail, and personal insight that have brought Kincaid widespread praise, Edwards also identifies and analyzes the novelist's primary thematic concerns—the flow of power and the injustices faced by people undergoing social, economic, and political change.
Edwards chronicles Kincaid's childhood in Antigua, her development as a writer, and her early journalistic work as published in the New Yorker and other magazines. In separate chapters he provides critical appraisals of Kincaid's early novels; her works of nonfiction, including My Brother and A Small Place; and her more recent novels, including Mr. Potter. Edwards discusses the way in which Kincaid both exposes the problems of colonization and neocolonization and warns her readers about the dire consequences of inequality in the era of globalization.
Justin D. Edwards is a professor of English at the University of Wales, Bangor. His previous books include Exotic Journeys: Exploring the Erotics of U.S. Travel Literature, 1840–1950; Gothic Passages: Racial Ambiguity and the American Gothic; and Gothic Canada: Reading the Spectre of a National Literature.