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My Brother Paperback – November 9, 1998
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Compassion only occasionally lightens the grim tone of Jamaica Kincaid's searing account of her younger brother Devon's 1996 death from AIDS. As in novels such as Annie John, Kincaid is ruthlessly honest about her ambivalence toward the impoverished Caribbean nation from which she fled, her restrictive family, and the culture that imprisoned Devon. That honesty, which includes chilling detachment from her brother's suffering, is sometimes alienating. But art has its own justifications. The bitter clarity of Kincaid's prose and the tangled, undeniably human feelings it lucidly dissects are justification enough. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Reading novelist Kincaid's prose is like learning all over again why one writes: to sift endlessly, reorder, and distill one's raw, cluttered experience so that what emerges is, quite simply, perfect. Kincaid has written most recently about her mother (The Autobiography of My Mother, LJ 1/96), and indeed is still writing about her mother, though obliquely, in this memoir of her youngest brother, who died at age 33 from AIDS. Kincaid did not know until after his death that he was homosexual; she had not seen him for 20 years before his illness. In gently insistent, incantatory prose, she recounts their forced reunion, the complicated feelings his illness evokes, the pity and anger she feels for a life senselessly squandered, and her coming to love him as he lay dying. Being back in her native Antigua, and especially near her mother, stirs powerful and painful memories, and in the end Kincaid's achievement is most valuable for how she has transformed her grief into a monument to beauty and permanence. A stunning work; for all collections.
-?Amy Boaz, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Kincaid is a brilliant writer. Her prose is tight, short, succinct, clear and to the point. In less than 200 pages she says what other writers might have taken twice that much space to convey. Her writing is enjoyable to read even when she is writing about unpleasant subject matter. She has a keen insight into the events in her life and her relationships with other people.
To dismiss this as merely an "aids memoir" is to overlook the main theme in the book which primarily deals with the relationship of the author and her biological family and the life she's left behind in another country along with them.
Along the way Kincaid asks many intriguing questions, (although she does not always answer them). Why do parents do and say such cruel things to their children? Why do parents sometimes see these acts and statements as loving acts for the child's benefit? Why does one child from the same household grow up to be "good" and the other "bad"? Why do the parents sometimes love the "bad" child more than the "good" child? Why do we as adults continue to have contact with our parents and siblings even though we despise some of their past acts and continuing "bad" behaviors?
If you have relatives that you love and hate at the same time (and perhaps think you're unique in this aspect) you owe it to yourself to read this book. The aids aspect is only a backdrop for a mesmerizing look at family relationships and what makes people tick and act the way they do in those relationships.
I just want to add that I am only posting this to counteract what appears to be a long list of high school book reports that make up most of the "reviewing" on this page. ...