While I know Jamaica Kincaid's work is hailed in certain circles, this book left me exhausted. The repeated statement about Xuela's mother's death, her disregard and dislike for everyone around her and the supernatural undercurrent wore me out. The author dwelled entirely too long in childhood and I eagerly anticipated her growing up and maturing. Instead, I was treated to a rude, older version of the same character.
Initially I picked this book because I thought I might learn something of Dominican culture; however, short of the story being set in Dominica, there was little to learn of the country from the words of the author. Since I'm obligated to read a book from a different country each week, it was too late to turn back and try another book once I was 50 pages into this one. But given the opportunity, I would have preferred a different book.
Published: January 1997
Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about half way between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago
Size: 751 sq km, slightly more than four times the size of Washington, DC
Ethnic groups: Black 86.8%, mixed 8.9%, Carib Amerindian 2.9%, white 0.8%, other 0.7%
Languages: English (official), French patois