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Summary

The coming-of-age story of one of Jamaica Kincaid's most admired creations

Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple - handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet almost at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful façade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and verities of her employers' world and compares them with the vivid realities of her native place. Lucy has no illusions about her own past, but neither is she prepared to be deceived about where she presently is.

At the same time that Lucy is coming to terms with Lewis' and Mariah's lives, she is also unraveling the mysteries of her own sexuality. Gradually a new person unfolds: passionate, forthright, and disarmingly honest.

In Lucy, Jamaica Kincaid has created a startling new character possessed with adamantine clear-sightedness and ferocious integrity - a captivating heroine for our time.

©2002 Jamaica Kincaid (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Lucy

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    2 out of 5 stars

A disappointing second novel

This is a disappointing work. It reads more like part two of Annie John. Same voice, same attitude, same character. Only Annie John went off to England a sulky, self possessed teenager who loves and hates her parents. In Lucy, Kincaid repeats a story that was told in Annie John about the father who lost his grandmother who he used to share a bed with.

Lucy felt like a story which went on too long. It passed its end point and waffled on. Whilst I enjoyed Annie John which was funny, angsty and captured the spirit and life of a confident and smart teenage girl in a post World War 2 and still colonial Caribbean island.

Lucy was just a series of observations of a Black Caribbean young woman in the USA working as an au pair who has not quite left home behind in her heart and mind, whilst desiring this distance both physically and emotionally.

Lucy existed in a white world and didn’t explore the impact of being a black Caribbean woman in this world. It is as if race and foreignness didn’t matter. It would have been hard at that time in history for there not to have been any racialised incidents. She touched on their colonial attitudes towards the ‘islands’. The Caribbean territories portrayed as a set of places with no real identity but sun, sea, sand and island ‘paradises’ to escape to; a set of places with no real people or culture worth paying attention to. Lucy didn’t like that. A really astute observation.

But what about Lucy’s relationship to the rest of America including Black America? They were largely ignored as if they didn’t exist. As if the writer chose not to make them exist. This is the most disappointing thing about Lucy. Especially since it’s set in New York City where she must have come into contact with African Americans, other Caribbean people and confront for the first time, her own blackness and foreignness. Her blackness being irrelevant in the Caribbean.

A disappointing reading experience not because the writer must deal with the issue of race or racism. She doesn’t have to. But because the story was deliberately insular. It reads like a spiteful work. As spiteful as the character, Lucy.

1 person found this helpful

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Navigating new relationships

The strange familiarity of the situation envelops you as the story unfolds.

A mother's influence in one's life can show up so many times. There is a love and hate relationship at play between the maturing young woman, herself, and the shadow of her mother that is always close by. We all know it so well.

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Lucy's Story

interesting view of a young Windrush travellers experience of living in sixties Britian. Lucy's view of English wealth, family values and her own background highlights many moral questions

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  • CM
  • 02-10-21

Not for Me.

While listening to Lucy, I felt like my mum's long lost friend had finally found her whereabouts, come over and tried to summarise the last twenty years of her life, which they hadn't seen each other. There was no actual structure or point to their stories, and they would flip from one irrelevant thing to another without providing any real meaning to each snippet of story they were covering.

Although the timing of some events were evident, most skipped back and forth through the time since Lucy's arrival, that I was unaware whether it was one hour/day/month or year to the next.

It's a shame that the whole thing didn't feel as put together because the narrator had an excellent tone to her voice, with no annoying ticks. I could listen to her read a good story, which has some form of plot structure, all day long

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  • COLEMAN
  • 13-09-19

Coming of Age Story

Coming of Age Story of a teenage girl from the West Indies who comes to America to work for a rich white family. Lucy soon discovers the grass is not greener! Her love/hate relationship for her mother and her homeland and her forced realization of the truths she discovers about the family she works for fuel her cynicism of life.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-10-20

Timeless.

This book is brilliant and I felt like it’s honesty hugged me with hope. We are lucky to have this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Doris Nash
  • 16-12-21

interesting reading

I loved the story but there were moments when I struggled to understand the point of the story and where it was going

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  • Lala Baby
  • 01-12-21

Love is a myriad of things

When the ones we love most disappoint us: love can become a most distorted monster that robs us of ever loving anyone; especially ourselves. Great book!

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  • Paul Tretyak
  • 11-11-21

A West Indie Molly Bloom

I can't help but feel that Jamaica Kincaid loved Molly Bloom. The book goes back and forth in time and feels very much like Lucy is living simultaneously at home in the West Indies, in the United States, in the past, and the present. It's very interesting read. I recommend it.

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  • Denise
  • 19-10-21

Lucy is a bit of us all

What a complex character!

An angry, sad, emotionally detached, lonely young woman who wants nothing more than to be seen as good enough, more than enough, worth her parents’ ambitions, and most of all, to be able to break her industrial-strength emotional walls to reclaim the mother she vehemently rejected but loves so much.

There were times where I said to myself ‘I don’t like her’, but later on in the story I stopped trying to like her and moved on fully to trying to understand her. I’m sure I still don’t. In fact, I suggest that Ms. Kincaid herself does not either, and has settled upon simply telling her story.

I had only hoped for a mother/daughter reconciliation and maybe, perhaps, in the unseen, untold progression of her life, a tiny bit, a seed, a spark, of true happiness. After all, from such things are wonders grown.

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  • Michelle Wallace
  • 05-09-21

Lucy

A good book about a young Caribbean woman who works in the U.S. as a nanny for a wealthy American family. She learns a lot about herself and life in general during this time.

I had a bit of trouble adjusting to Robin Miles speech in this audiobook as she usually reads with a flat American accent. This book would be better performed by a person with an authentic Caribbean speech pattern.

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  • all our stories
  • 27-06-21

A continuation of Annie John?

This story seems the continuation of Annie John, picking up from the place where Annie John left her mother in search of a life apart from her. But this is not Annie this is Lucy. The natural learning of life lessons continues.

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  • Concerned buyer
  • 04-06-21

Mixed feelings

I considered giving the book two stars but gave it three because I wanted to hear the ending. I couldn’t not finish. The narrator would have been excellent for the right book but her voice is far too mature for a 19yr old. I did not like the main character at all. I felt like she lived up to her name. This book is probably amazing fir some and terrible for others

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-12-20

Excellent

Really enjoyed this book, the performance from Robin Miles was outstanding to say the least