Saturday, 20 February 2010

My Thoughts: Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

My reading around the Caribbean continues (it will certainly last a while longer as a bookcrosser kindly sent me A House for Mr Biswas which arrived this morning and I have 2 Caribbean short story collections and Derek Walcott's poetry sitting reserved for me at the library), this time I'm popping over to Atigua.
Annie John is a delightful novella about a precocious little girl, Annie. As a child she is adored by her mother, she follows her from place to place, is indulged with attention and love (and food - her breakfast would last me a good couple of days). Her mother takes her with her to markets, during household chores and on visits and each one is filled with a story from either her mother's or Annie's past.
At the age of 12 Annie's life changes, suddenly she is no longer the apple of her mother's eye, when her father is present they act close and loving yet when they are alone they battle. Annie suddnely feels unloved and unwanted, like she can do nothing right.
This book follows Annie's relationship with her mother, through her schooling where she is the brightest but also the naughtiest girl. And, my favourite part, through the Antiguan culture filled with obeah's, descriptions of meals and rituals, habbits and customs. The language is beautiful, I wanted to star so many passages, and if this was my own book I would have, so I could flick through and savour the words again. I've picked out one of my favourites below:
My father came in, looked at me and said, "So, Little Miss, huh? Hmmmm." I knew that he would say this before the words came out of his mouth. When the words reached me, the "So" was bigger than the "Little," and the "Miss" was bigger than the "huh," and the "Hmmmm" was bigger than all the other words rolled into one. Then all the sound rocked back and fourth in mt ears, and I had a picture of it; it looked like a large wave constantly dashing up against a wall in the sea, and the whole thing made me feel far away abd weightless.

I first saw this book reviewed by Eva so have to thank her for bringing this great book to my attention, I'm hoping to read more Kincaid in the near future.


Vivienne said...

This sounds really good. I am curious as to why her relationship with her mother changed.

Eva said...

Yay-I'm glad that you enjoyed it too!