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Summary

From the recipient of the 2010 Clifton Fadiman Medal comes an unforgettable novel of one woman's courageous coming of age.

Powerful, disturbing, and stirring, Jamaica Kincaid's novel is the deeply charged story of a woman's life on the island of Dominica. Xuela Claudette Richardson, the daughter of a Carib mother and a half-Scottish, half-African father, loses her mother to death the moment she is born and must find her way on her own.

Jamaica Kincaid takes us from Xuela's childhood in a home where she can hear the song of the sea to the tin-roofed room where she lives as a schoolgirl in the house of Jack La Batte, who becomes her first lover. Xuela develops a passion for the stevedore Roland, who steals bolts of Irish linen for her from the ships he unloads, but she eventually marries an English doctor, Philip Bailey. Xuela's intensely physical world is redolent of overripe fruit, gentian violet, sulfur, and rain on the road. It seethes with her sorrow, her deep sympathy for those who share her history, her fear of her father, and her desperate loneliness. But underlying all is "the black room of the world" that is Xuela's barrenness and life without a mother.

The Autobiography of My Mother is a story of love, fear, loss, and the forging of character, an account of one woman's inexorable evolution, evoked in startling and magical poetry.

©2016 Jamaica Kincaid (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Autobiography of My Mother

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Outstanding narrative

Outstanding narrative.
Each sentence is perfectly crafted for the reader. what a spectacular journey.

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That was a ride

the narrator made this so much better than reading it myself. xuella's disconnect from the world was perfectly performed.. I enjoyed it immensely... now to write my essay lol

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  • KJ
  • 23-08-18

Moving and Compelling

A compelling coming-of-age story set on the island of Dominica. It is a poignant tale of loss, identity, motherhood, sexuality and the natural world, vividly described and narrated. The prose is full of poetry and refrain, this repetition of ideas takes a while to get used to, but the style is quite unique and fresh. Beautifully drawn characterisation. It's mostly an engaging read, but sometimes lacks tension and forward thrust, instead the story swirls and recapitulates ideas. At times shocking, at others deeply sad. The unreliable narration is full of great passion and intelligence, questioning the order of the world, ideas of race, mortality and religion. The narrator's loneliness is painful and endless as is her suffering. I can't honestly say I really enjoyed all of the book, there's quite a lot of passive introspection, but the detail and the prose I won't forget in a hurry.

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  • K. Akua Gray
  • 11-12-20

Classic Jamaica Kincaid

I absolutely love the writings of this author and have read most of her books. This was my first listen of one of her audio books and it was just as delightful. Perfect performance.

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  • Cheryl R.
  • 09-06-21

Yuck!!!

I tried. I really tried. Much of it was so gross. After a third of the way through I just couldn’t take it anymore. And….good grief….how many times did she have to repeat herself?!? So many times that I thought I had accidentally clicked back to previous chapters. This narrator is too good for this.

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  • CJB
  • 22-04-21

Meaningful!

I thought this book was very deep and meaningful on so many levels. It really does give one a pause in thought throughout this book. The narrator did a great job of this reading as well!

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  • Annalissa Martinez
  • 05-04-21

Yes!

Awesome book kept me interested! Had to read it for class and ended up really enjoying it.

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  • Ms. Retro
  • 19-11-19

It’s a Must Read!!!

I loved the narrator’s voice. It captured to essence of Jamaica Kincaid ‘s culture. The book is a mesmerizing account of multiculturalism, loss, independence, and freedom. It moved me on a personal level as she reclaimed her body and her professed self love!

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  • Lammel S.
  • 06-12-21

Sad and insightful

Beautifully written and performed, but heartbreaking. Prepare to feel sorry for a character who feels or pity for herself and little connection to others. I know people like this, which made it all the more painful, but also insightful.

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  • Steffy
  • 02-09-21

strange and disturbing

This was a disturbing story. I felt sad and moved by the lack of love in her life as well as her mother's life 💔

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  • Anita Cooper
  • 28-08-21

Don't Bother!

A rambling repetitive story with no plot or likable characters. Total waste of time and money.

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  • janrunner
  • 12-06-21

Awful Book

The title of this book is a bit deceptive. It starts off telling a little about her mother then for hours the author goes into graphically describing her many instances of sexual self gratification coupled with all the people in her life whom she despised. Towards the end she starts talking again a little about the mother she never knew. I kept reading hoping it was going to get better but it never did. Complete waste of my time.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-04-21

Boring

I cannot say it was liked or loved. It was not even interesting it was quite boring actually and it took me a while to get through it because I kept falling to sleep. I certainly hope her other books are more interesting.