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Lucy: A Novel Paperback – September 4, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (September 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374527350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374527358
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From 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"
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Jamaica Kincaid's works include, Mr Potter, The Autobiography of My Mother, and My Brother, a memoir. She lives in Bennington, Vermont.

Customer Reviews

It made me want to cry, and not from tears.
bLiNk1390
This is a very simple story which starts off with several conventional plot twists but ends on a poignant, and somewhat surprising, note.
"onna"
Kincaid's writing style is deceptively simple.
jessi_books

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dera R Williams VINE VOICE on October 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
This classic, Kincaid's tale of a West Indian girl who comes to the States and becomes an au pair to a wealthy white couple, has been re-released. I first read this novel about ten years ago as my introduction to Kincaid's writing and was both intrigued and in awe of her language, themes, and symbolic language.
Until she was nineteen years old, Lucy Potter had not ventured from her own little world on the small island where she was born. Now she is living with a family and learning a culture that is very different from her own. Lewis and Mariah and their four daughters want Lucy to feel like she is part of the family but at first she finds it difficult to fit in. She just wants to do her duty and in her off-hours discovers a new world through her friend Peggy and sexuality through young men, Hugh and Paul.
Lucy often reflects on her life back on the island; the conflicts between she and her mother, and the British influence on the islanders. She remembers when she and her friends would read the Book of Revelations using the passages to terrify each other. She also remembers the time her mother showed her how to mix herbs that supposedly would cleanse a woman's womb but what they both knew was an abortion remedy. Lucy knows what is expected of her, to study for a respectable job like a nurse and to honor her family. She finds out that the tidy, neat world of the family she has come to love is not all it purports to be and how silence is a universal language.
Kincaid's language is outstanding in remembering her home; "the color of six o'clock in the evening" is just one example. It is well known that her writing draws from her life experiences as in The Autobiography of My Mother and My Brother and I look forward to her latest offering, Mr.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "onna" on April 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a very simple story which starts off with several conventional plot twists but ends on a poignant, and somewhat surprising, note. However, by the novel's end, Lucy manages to captivate the reader, and the story somehow manages to resonate within the reader long after the novel has been finished. Kincaid tells Lucy's story eloquently and lyrically and convincingly draws out several themes which help to give the story breadth and depth. Dispossession and alienation from one's homeland and family, mother-daughter relationships, the middle class family, and Lucy's sexuality are only some of the themes that are explored in the novel. Lucy's voice is strong and individual, and she clearly emerges as a character of complexity and strength.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Fitzgerald Fan VINE VOICE on September 22, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One thing you should know before picking up this book is that the main character, Lucy, is an extremely f**ked up kid who, overall, is wholly unlikeable. That being said however, the book does have its strong points. Lucy is a girl from the West Indies who comes to North America as an au pair. Her journey through the book not only shows us some of the prejudices she must endure, but more ironically shows the extremes of her own prejudices.

I found a lot of the book to be seemingly hopeless and exasperating, but it is also an eye opener in the realm of the subjugated. There is also something of a ray of hope at the book's finish.

Lastly, this book is very much manifested from some of the author's own experiences as a native of Antigua and it would really do a reader good to read Jamaica Kincaid's easily readable yet extremely angry essay, "On Seeing England for the First Time," before delving into this book.

"Lucy" is short and worth the time it takes to finish as I believe the story is more defined by what is furtively omitted (yet alluded to) than what is actually displayed in black and white.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 25, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In a graceful and simplistic, yet deceptive, writing style, Caribbean author Jamaica Kincaid examines and scrutinizes the [white middle class] American way of life in LUCY. This novel is 164 pages of pure social commentary, whether it be of America or of Kincaid's native Antigua. Throughout her work, Kincaid confronts challenging issues related to mother-daughter relationships, marriage, puberty and sexuality, and love. This book was meant to be talked about.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on October 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
The central figure of this novel is a teenage girl from the West Indies working as an au pair for an American family. Her name is Lucy, and as the story opens, she describes her first day on the job, her surroundings, and the ambivalence of being away from home. Faced with a different cultural backdrop and elements of time, Lucy is able to compare, dismiss, and draw her own conclusive ideals based on the premise that the family she's working for are not perfect as originally thought. As she matures, and her life focuses on the realistic ramifications of how things really are in this new environment, we began to see a difference in mannerisms and expression.
Jamaica Kincaid, the author, colors this drama with a unique imagery that forces the reader to dig a little deeper for definitive tones that allow you to understand Lucy's character makeup, and why she thinks as she does. It is this penchant for the subliminal that the author gives this girl, that tend to have you believe that poignancy is a given rather than an afterthought. I found it to be a simple story short on plot, with no conflicting analogies, but allowing the author to speak volumes for a well written expose of differing themes to give it a profound niche. To wit: Kincaid's lilting prose and narrative stylings lend itself to a certain eloquence that you almost forget that this is a story set in the '60s dealing with such things as the mental anguish of leaving a homeland and alienation from familial relations; mother-daughter relations; teenage sexuality and promiscuity; and Lucy's exploration into the art of kissing. But because it reads as a timeless element to what is being portrayed, it's much more than a moot point when subtext makes a case for good writing!
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