The Autobiography of My Mother

by Jamaica Kincaid

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Critical Context

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Both feminist academics and the non-academic literary establishment have embraced Jamaica Kincaid’s work. The Autobiography of My Mother, her fourth novel, has been the subject of many scholarly articles, which see it as an important engagement with the intersection of the personal and the historical. Similarly, the novel was received by the popular press as a welcome expansion of the mother-daughter theme in the author’s work. Where her earlier works had been focused intensely on the relationship between two individuals, The Autobiography of My Mother was seen as engaging in a broader social construction of the relationship. Although some critics were given pause by the book’s rather hopeless ending, the novel is generally regarded as especially successful in its use of the lyrical prose style that has become Kincaid’s hallmark.

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