‘Figures In The Distance’ by Jamaica Kincaid

Kincaid, Jamaica 1983

Figures In The Distance by Jamaica Kincaid, 1983 Continue reading


‘The Circling Hand’ by Jamaica Kincaid

Kincaid, Jamaica 1983

The Circling Hand by Jamaica Kincaid, 1983

The magic trick:

Beautifully describing the changing relationship with ones mother as a girl grows into a teenager

Kincaid does a wonderful job illustrating a girl’s changing relationship with her mother. The narrator begins the story idolizing her mother, and winds up in classic teen-angst mode: sullen, talking back, and shifting her worship onto a classmate.

Kincaid describes vividly the actions and feelings associated with both sides of the transition. She also uses a very memorable scene – involving the titular circling hand – as the breaking point. None of it is new or particularly surprising. But it doesn’t have to be, when the emotions are as real and well-drawn as they are here. And that’s quite a trick on Kincaid’s part.

The selection:

I was about to ask her this when remembered that a few days earlier I had asked in my most pleasing, winning way for a look through the trunk. A person I did not recognize answered in a voice I did not recognize, “Absolutely not! You and I don’t have time for that anymore.” Again, did the ground wash out from under me? Again, the answer would have to be yes, and I wouldn’t be going too far.