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Mr. Potter: A Novel (2002)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374214948, Hardcover)The refrain of Jamaica Kincaid's clear-sighted, poetic novel Mr. Potter is that reading and writing are incomparable prizes: it is literacy that separates us--not without pain--from the natural world. Kincaid's title character, a chauffeur, spends his life in the bright, unchanging sun of Antigua. Each day his father fruitlessly lowers his fishing pots and his net into the waters of the surrounding ocean, finally cursing God for his bad luck. These are ordinary men, as trapped and elevated by circumstance as any of us, except that without the split in consciousness that reading gives, they cannot see any context for what happens to them. Only the writer--and in this case the narrator, Mr. Potter's grown daughter, a true lover of words--can provide context for such characters, dipping back into history, stepping close to read the men's thoughts, drawing further away to take in politics and social movements. Kincaid's looping, deceptively simple style draws on the work of female modernists like Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein to stitch together the story of Mr. Potter. After a few stiff paragraphs at the opening, the effect is spellbinding. Readers familiar with Kincaid will recognize her preoccupation with family (as seen in My Brother) and her unsentimental assertion that in a world dominated by practical concerns, blood connections matter, even if love does not always follow the bloodline. --Regina Marler
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:43 -0400)
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