Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.



3.7 6
by Jamaica Kincaid

See All Formats & Editions

Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple--handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet, alomst at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful facade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and


Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple--handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet, alomst at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful facade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and verities of her employers' world and compares them with the vivid realities of her native place. Lucy has no illusions about her own past, but neither is she prepared to be deceived about where she presently is.

At the same time that Lucy is coming to terms with Lewis's and Mariah's lives, she is also unravelling the mysteries of her own sexuality. Gradually a new person unfolds: passionate, forthright, and disarmingly honest. In Lucy, Jamaica Kincaid has created a startling new character possessed with adamantine clearsightedness and ferocious integrity--a captivating heroine for our time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lucy, a teenager from the West Indies who has renounced her family and past, comes to America to work as an au pair and detachedly observes the deterioration of her employers' marriage. ``This is a slim book but Kincaid has crafted it with a spare elegance that has brilliance in its very simplicity,'' said PW. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Like her Annie John ( LJ 4/1/85), Kincaid's new heroine travels the coming-of-age road. Lucy, a 19-year-old West Indi an, sheds her cloistered colonial upbringing by accepting a job as an au pair in New York--the perfect setting for satisfying her gluttonous appetite for both mental and sensual stimulation. The startling disintegration of her employers' marriage triggers flashbacks of home and family; the reflected details are unsettling. Lucy finds being born ``woman'' places her in a territory she wants to explore and at the same time escape. As she begins her exploration, cathartic tears blur the first pages of her diary. But Lucy plunges ahead, reassured by the discovery of an authentic self. Strong in style and substance, dazzling with its sharp-edged prose, this is a novel no one should miss. Literary Guild selection; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/90.-- Bibi S. Thompson, ``Library Journal''
From the Publisher

“Beautifully precise prose . . . It leaves the reader with the unforgettable experience of having met a ferociously honest woman on her own uncompromising terms.” —The New York Times

“Brilliant . . . Lucy confirms Ms. Kincaid as a both a daughter of Bronte and Woolf and her own inimitable self.” —Wall Street Journal

“A furious, broken-hearted gem of a novel . . . Part of the richness of this book is the way we come to see, as Lucy struggles to do, the connections between those of us who have too much and those who will never have enough--and between 'a sentence for life' (what can't be changed in the self) and that which can be wrestled with and, at least, understood.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Plume Contemporary Fiction Series
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.53(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Jamaica Kincaid, born in St. John’s, Antigua, is the author of short stories, novels, and nonfiction. Her 2013 novel See Now Then was a New York Times bestseller. A former reporter for the New Yorker magazine, she is a professor of literature at Claremont-McKenna College in California.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Lucy: A Novel (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Karczra More than 1 year ago
I purchased this novel for a college course and have grown to really enjoy it. "Lucy" is a fast read with a lot of content to analyze; her character is so unique and she thinks in a way unfamiliar with our society. This novel would make a great edition to any book club list and could keep readers entertained!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm surprised there's so many negative reviews...Anyway, I thought this was a great book and I could relate to Lucy's angst. I love Kincaid's writing style, it isn't sentimental at all, and I like that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid bothered me as I read it. But when I paused long enough to ask myself what was going on, the novel seemed to open up and reveal more of itself. Lucy, the main character was such a complex person. Some of her anti-social behavior was due to the servant status that she had, which consisted of taking care of a rich families four girls. Also Lucy was sort of transforming into an adult so that the kindness of her patron, boss was felt as patronising, the kindness semed to remind Lucy of her mother. It seemed like a continuation of the status of dependency that Lucy was trying to grow out of. Every act of kindness was seen through the lens of anger, resentment, rebellion. The novel might also be exploring colonialism. The relationshp between Third World countries and the non-Third World. Lucy may not have been ungratful. The novel explores the class relationship between the characters in a very personal way. I felt Lucy very weak and very strong when her female patrons marriage falls apart and Lucy decides that she is moving out with her female friend. The question might be for me: 'Can there be real friendship between a person in power who is very generous and a person not in power, a working class person, a person who sells their labor to make a living?' The question of racism seemed in the background, or not there at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lucy is a character that can irritate you- then you can relate to her. Kincaid is very unique writer and Lucy is the first book I've read of her's. Her behavior through out the book made me mad because she blamed others for the way she is(she thanked her mom for [Lucy] becoming a slut). At the end of the book, she finally admits to herself...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lucy, by Jamica Kincaid follows the life of a young women coming into her own. Written in a first person, Lucy tell her story of experiencing a new place and how it compared with her imagination. By discussing real life issues of a young adult in her situation such as homelessness and sexuality she shows how she comes into her own. Lucy, through out the novel seems to be lost and dissapointed until she meets what seems to be her only friend Mariah. It is Mariah who influences her throught out the story, she becomes her mother figure. Mariah replaces Lucy's own real mother. For the most part Lucy, by Jamaica Kincaid was an ok novel. It did not catch my interest.I was very disappointed with Lucy and how her character turns out in the end of the book. Lucy portrayed herself as an angry, unhappy person. I could not relate to her character and found it difficult to get through the novel with much interest.