Mr. Potter by Jamaica Kincaid
A Novel

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Synopsis

The story of an ordinary man, his century, and his home: “Kincaid’s most poetic and affecting novel to date” (Robert Antoni, The Washington Post Book World)

Jamaica Kincaid’s first obssession, the island of Antigua, comes vibrantly to life under the gaze of Mr. Potter, an illiterate taxi chauffeur who makes his living along the roads that pass through the only towns he has ever seen and the graveyard where he will be buried. The sun shines squarely overhead, the ocean lies on every side, and suppressed passion fills the air.
Ignoring the legacy of his father, a poor fisherman, and his mother, who committed suicide, Mr. Potter struggles to live at ease amid his surroundings: to purchase a car, to have girlfriends, and to shake off the encumbrance of his daughters—one of whom will return to Antigua after he dies and tell his story with equal measures of distance and sympathy.

In Mr. Potter, Kincaid breathes life into a figure unlike any other in contemporary fiction, an individual consciousness emerging gloriously out of an unexamined life.

 

About Jamaica Kincaid

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Jamaica Kincaid was born in St. John's, Antigua. Her books include At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, Lucy, The Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, and Mr. Potter, all published by FSG. She lives with her family in Vermont.
 
Published July 16, 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 208 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mr. Potter

Kirkus Reviews

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Which makes for a downer of a book as Elaine Cynthia, a writer, tells the uneventful story of her father, called Mr. Potter throughout, who was born in 1922 and died 70 years later, facts that Elaine repeats .

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The Guardian

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Perhaps it's enough for the narrator, under cover of piety ('because I learned how to read and how to write, only so is Mr Potter's life known, his smallness becomes large, his anonymity is stripped away, his silence broken'), to be able to write: 'I am now the central figure in Mr Potter's life....

Jul 28 2002 | Read Full Review of Mr. Potter: A Novel

The Guardian

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Mr Potter by Jamaica Kincaid 195pp, Chatto, £12.99 Jamaica Kincaid's searing memoir My Brother (1997), about her half-brother's death from Aids, was her only essay into autobiography.

Aug 03 2002 | Read Full Review of Mr. Potter: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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But what seems like a conventional narrative about a man's coming to consciousness becomes something quite different as the reader gradually gets to know the book's narrator, one of Mr. Potter's many illegitimate daughters, who slowly reveals her relationship to her father and whose voice comes t...

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Book Reporter

Her mother and her mother's mothers, her father and her father's fathers could not --- indeed did not care to --- read and write.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Mr. Potter: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

Sometimes her lilting language gains intensity and reaches lush poetry, and sometimes it is a numbingly circular bore: ''See the small boy asleep in a slumber so deep, seamlessly still, his body seems stilled, but not in death, not in the life of death, his body is stilled yet moving with stillne...

May 17 2002 | Read Full Review of Mr. Potter: A Novel

People

Kincaid's rhythmic prose draws you deep inside the world of Mr. Potter and doesn't loosen its hold until the whambang final sentence.

Jun 24 2002 | Read Full Review of Mr. Potter: A Novel

Monsters and Critics

more Harry Styles to see Taylor Swift at the BRITs Harry Styles and Taylor Swift are reportedly preparing for another possible awkward run-in at the BRIT Awards in London later this month following their split in December ...

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Monsters and Critics

Toklas are not related, of course, but in her novel, Mr. Potter, Jamaica Kincaid strings words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters together in such a way that one is almost compelled to think sideways and backward and forward and to stop thinking when the thinking one is thinking becomes to...

Mar 31 2008 | Read Full Review of Mr. Potter: A Novel

Reader Rating for Mr. Potter
67%

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