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A Screed . . . Redeemed Only by Its Lyricism
am 23. Juli 2000
"A Small Place" is a small book of unsubtle reflections about Antigua, the nine-by-twelve mile island in the West Indies where Jamaica Kincaid was born and spent her childhood. Unfortunately, the book is redeemed only by the lyricism of Kincaid's prose. In simplistic fashion, Kincaid explores the legacy of British colonialism and the corruption of Antigua's native leaders. Kincaid acknowledges the splenetic nature of her endeavor, telling the reader to "look at this prolonged visit to the bile duct I am making, look at how bitter, how dyspeptic just to sit and think about these things makes me." The book is certainly bilious, a sort of juvenile screed from an author demonstrably capable of more subtle analysis. Read "A Small Place" if you're traveling to the West Indies or read it if you're an admirer of Jamaica Kincaid's literary craftsmanship. Just don't expect too much from it.