Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* A decade after her last novel, Mr. Potter (2002), Kincaid returns to fiction with a vengeance. Her urgent subject has always been her life in Antigua and America imaginatively and courageously transformed into a microcosm of the crimes, psychic pain, and social aberration unleashed in the fateful year of 1492. In this furious, funny, and sorrowful tirade and lament, Kincaid meshes autobiography with archetypes as the unraveling of an unlikely marriage turns into a heightened, hypnotic, and shrewdly complex inquiry into time, alienation, and metamorphosis. Mrs. Sweet, a wife, mother, gardener, and writer living in Vermont, loves and adores her children, no matter how much they baffle and exhaust her. Athletic Heracles surrounds himself with toy armies. Persephone is often hidden and out of reach. Kincaid's foray into myth is profound and unnervingly surreal as Mrs. Sweet is forced to recognize that small, brooding Mr. Sweet, a frustrated musician and composer, now hates her. The gathering storm of her rage, anguish, and regret propels her on a holy journey into her past and our collective history. Kincaid has created a measured, bewitching, and metaphysical fable, as well as a venomous, acidly comic, and plangent tale of love, betrayal, and loss that is at once slashingly personal and radiantly universal in its mystery, passion, and catharsis. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A national tour and publicity campaign will herald the publication of the first novel in 10 years by the distinctive, much-acclaimed, and fearless Kincaid.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In her first novel in a decade, Kincaid (Autobiography of My Mother) brings her singular lyricism and beautifully recursive tendencies to the inner life of Mrs. Sweet, who is facing the end of her marriage, and who, over the course of the book, considers the distinctions between her nows and her thens, particularly when recounting what was while the memories bleed with a pain that still is. Particularly touching is Kincaid's rendering of motherhood. The immediacy of Mrs. Sweet's small son's toys-Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers-creates a significant foil to the ethereal interior echoes. Such is the reality of parenting: what is imagined or remembered loses every battle against plastic warriors and the demands of children. What's startling is the presumably autobiographical nature of the plot. The family lives in Bennington, Vt., like Kincaid, and Mr. Sweet is a composer who leaves his wife for a younger musician, as was the case with Kincaid's former husband. While evidence of fictionalization is obvious (naming the children after Greek myths), the book feels precariously balanced between meticulous language and raw emotion. The distinction between life and art is not always clear, but only a writer as deft as Kincaid can blur the lines so elegantly. Agent: The Wiley Agency.(Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Fans of Lannan Literary Award winner Kincaid's Lucy and Mr. Potter have waited more than ten years for this novel, about a couple and their two children living in small-town New England. But Kincaid is less interested in their everyday lives than what goes on in their minds. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Lannan Award-winner Kincaid (Lucy) here offers a lyrical reverie on the doomed marriage between Mr. and Mrs. Sweet, a Caribbean-born writer and gardener and a New York City composer who are raising their children in Shirley Jackson's former home in a quaint Vermont town. It reads like a meditation, with strong allusions to Greek mythology and poetic repetitions that recall Homeric refrains. The title refers to the author's conceit that everything can be glimpsed in the same instant, and the narrative moves vertiginously forward and backward through time, sometimes within a single paragraph. All of Kincaid's works can be construed as semiautobiographical to some degree, but with so many of the details here matching the circumstances of the author's own life and family, the portrait can come off as bitter and vengeful. There is nothing redeeming about the bloodless, intellectual Mr. Sweet, who harbors murderous rage and boundless contempt toward his devoted wife and sporty, distractible son. VERDICT The excessive lyricism and lack of linear structure can make this a difficult read, but literary fiction collections will want to acquire Kincaid's first novel in ten years.[See Prepub Alert, 8/27/12.]-Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Lannan Award-winner Kincaid (Lucy) here offers a lyrical reverie on the doomed marriage between Mr. and Mrs. Sweet, a Caribbean-born writer and gardener and a New York City composer who are raising their children in Shirley Jackson's former home in a quaint Vermont town. It reads like a meditation, with strong allusions to Greek mythology and poetic repetitions that recall Homeric refrains. The title refers to the author's conceit that everything can be glimpsed in the same instant, and the narrative moves vertiginously forward and backward through time, sometimes within a single paragraph. All of Kincaid's works can be construed as semiautobiographical to some degree, but with so many of the details here matching the circumstances of the author's own life and family, the portrait can come off as bitter and vengeful. There is nothing redeeming about the bloodless, intellectual Mr. Sweet, who harbors murderous rage and boundless contempt toward his devoted wife and sporty, distractible son. VERDICT The excessive lyricism and lack of linear structure can make this a difficult read, but literary fiction collections will want to acquire Kincaid's first novel in ten years.[See Prepub Alert, 8/27/12.]-Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.