See Now Then: Book summary and reviews of See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid

See Now Then

A Novel

By Jamaica Kincaid

See Now Then
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2013,
    192 pages.

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Book Summary

In See Now Then, the brilliant and evocative new novel from Jamaica Kincaid—her first in ten years—a marriage is revealed in all its joys and agonies. This piercing examination of the manifold ways in which the passing of time operates on the human consciousness unfolds gracefully, and Kincaid inhabits each of her characters—a mother, a father, and their two children, living in a small village in New England—as they move, in their own minds, between the present, the past, and the future: for, as she writes, "the present will be now then and the past is now then and the future will be a now then." Her characters, constrained by the world, despair in their domestic situations. But their minds wander, trying to make linear sense of what is, in fact, nonlinear. See Now Then is Kincaid's attempt to make clear what is unclear, and to make unclear what we assumed was clear: that is, the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Since the publication of her first short-story collection, At the Bottom of the River, which was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, Kincaid has demonstrated a unique talent for seeing beyond and through the surface of things. In See Now Then, she envelops the reader in a world that is both familiar and startling—creating her most emotionally and thematically daring work yet.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The distinction between life and art is not always clear, but only a writer as deft as Kincaid can blur the lines so elegantly." - Publishers Weekly

"It's not a total success: Without the tether of a firm plot, all the time-folding makes the narrative feel static, an artful set of complaints. Yet Kincaid's audaciousness is winning. She's taken some much-needed whacks at the conventional domestic novel." - Kirkus Reviews

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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.

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