A Small Place
  • Alternative view 1 of A Small Place
  • Alternative view 2 of A Small Place

A Small Place

3.2 10
by Jamaica Kincaid
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A brilliant look at colonialism and its effects in Antigua--by the author of Annie John

"If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Vere Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the Prime Minister of Antigua. You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a

Overview

A brilliant look at colonialism and its effects in Antigua--by the author of Annie John

"If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Vere Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the Prime Minister of Antigua. You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a Prime Minister would want an airport named after him--why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument. You are a tourist and you have not yet seen . . ."

So begins Jamaica Kincaid's expansive essay, which shows us what we have not yet seen of the ten-by-twelve-mile island in the British West Indies where she grew up.

Lyrical, sardonic, and forthright by turns, in a Swiftian mode, A Small Place cannot help but amplify our vision of one small place and all that it signifies.

Editorial Reviews

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.
From the Publisher

“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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466828834
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
04/28/2000
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
170,000
File size:
121 KB

Read an Excerpt

If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Were Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the Prime Minister of Antigua. you may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a Prime Minister would want an airport named after him—why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument? You are a tourist and you have not yet seen a public monument in Antigua. As your plane descends to land, you might say, What a beautiful island Antigua is—more beautiful than any of the other islands you have seen, and they were very beautiful, in their way, but they were much too green, much too lush with vegetation, which indicated to you, the tourist, that they got quite a bit of rainfall, and rain is the very thing that you, just now, do not want, for you are thinking of the hard and cold and dark and long days you spent working in North America (or, worse, Europe), earning some money so that you could stay in this place (Antigua) where the sun always shines and where the climate is deliciously hot and dry for the four to ten days you are going to be staying there; and since you are on your holiday, since you are a tourist, the thought of what it might be like for someone who had to live day in, day our in a place that suffers constantly from drought, and so has to watch carefully every drop of fresh water used (while at the same time surrounded by a sea and an ocean—the Caribbean Sea on one side, the Atlantic Ocean on the other), must never cross your mind.

Meet the Author

Jamaica Kincaid was born in St. Johns, Antigua. Her books include At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, and My Brother (all published by FSG). She lives with her family in Vermont.


Jamaica Kincaid was born in St. John's, Antigua. Her books include At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, and My Brother. She lives with her family in Vermont.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

A Small Place (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series) 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Small Place is a very simple-written book. With a fascinating setting in Antigua is the story of the extraordinary conditions of the life of the people of Antigua. Jamaica Kincaid's writing portrays not only her bitterness with the legacies of slavery but also her disappointment with the new Antigua, especially the loss of social values and the corruption plaguing the political life and those higher up in society. And she brought it out so succinctly and poignantly that this book clearly articulates the crisis plaguing developing nations, especially Africa that though independent, still have not yet shaken off the negative legacies of colonialism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This books was a good read and narrated by a very vivacious and truthful person. Her opinions are interesting and her explanation of the state of the nation of Antigua is very insightful. It was a very compelling read and is well worth the money. The Nook book is formatted very well and is easy to read.
songofthestars91 More than 1 year ago
Jamaica Kincaid knows how to make a strong argument. Her words are poetic, her voice is passionate. There is something truly mesmerizing about this book.
White_Poppy More than 1 year ago
Disturbingly, my daughter was given this to read for her 11th grade English composition class. It is a short book that uses second person narrative to transmit a powerful emotion- hate. Kincaid hates Antigua's colonial past and it's present corrupt government (written in the 1980s). She hates it's plantation history, maintained by slaves, and it's present tourist industry, maintained by servants. She makes many good points about these issues but by using the second person point of view she makes her attacks very personal - you the reader are responsible. You the reader are especially hated if you are white. If you are English she claims you hate your country and English people, and that Antiguans despise you - finding you ugly, pitiful and ill mannered. She asserts that English people should walk around in sackcloth and ashes to repent their sins. Although the book provides many "facts" Kincaid does not supply evidence to support them. She fails to take into account the history of British working class people. True the white elite may have benefited from slavery but it was the taxes of working people that were used to pay the elite 200 million pounds when slavery was ended to compensate them for their loss. It is the poor working people, who had no vote, who worked in terrible conditions in mines and factories, that helped make the elite rich. If you were unlucky enough to be put in a workhouse, adult or child, you worked without pay and often died as the result of industrial injury or malnutrition. The seas around Antigua contain not only the bodies of slaves, but those of the white soldiers and servants, and not forgetting those of the indigenous islanders who were wiped out. Kincaid's heart felt, if hateful words, would be more palatable if she still lived in Antigua and was working to make her country a better place. Instead she has lived most of her life in America and had this book published with the help of The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation - whose vast fortune was made in mining and smelting...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago