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Mr. Potter: A Novel par Jamaica Kincaid
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Mr. Potter: A Novel (original 2002; édition 2003)

par Jamaica Kincaid

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1848116,358 (3.15)20
In this luminous, bewitching new novel Jamaica Kincaid tells the story of an ordinary man, his century, and his home. The island of Antigua comes vibrantly to life under the gaze of Mr Potter, an illiterate taxi chauffer who makes his living driving a navy blue Hillman along the wide-open roads that pass 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. Kincaid conjures up a moving picture of Mr Potter's youth - beginning with memories of his father, a poor fisherman, and his mother, who committed suicide - and the outside world, that presses in on his life. Within these confines, Mr Potter struggles to live at ease- to buy his own car, to have girlfriends, to shake off the encumbrance of his many daughters, one of whom will return to Antigua after he dies, to tell his story with equal measures of distance and sympathy. In MR POTTER Jamaica Kincaid brings alive a figure unlike any in contemporary fiction, an individual consciousness emerging gloriously out of an unexamined life to cast a long shadow.… (plus d'informations)
Membre:NewBieSS
Titre:Mr. Potter: A Novel
Auteurs:Jamaica Kincaid
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2003), Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:En cours de lecture
Évaluation:
Mots-clés:antigua

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Mr. Potter par Jamaica Kincaid (2002)

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Affichage de 1-5 de 8 (suivant | tout afficher)
A daughter's reminiscences of the father she never new--not because he was deceased, but because he ignored his many daughters from many women. Elaine Cynthia is a writer living in the United States, but she is from Antigua. Not until he died did she really understand that Mr Potter, chauffeur and car owner, was her father. In a very repetitive style Elaine tries to understand the illiterate man she never knew--who never left the island, did not care for his daughters, and only cared for his only son who he did not actually father.

This unusual narrative is somewhat hard to follow though it is largely linear--her father was not named on her birth certificate, just as his father was not on his. Mr Potter's mother drowned herself when he was young, and he was raised by the neighbors she had left him with. He spent years working as a driver for Mr Shoul, a Lebanese immigrant. He spent years driving Dr Weizenger, a doctor who fled the Nazis. All he wanted was to own his own car company. ( )
  Dreesie | Jul 8, 2019 |
Extraordinary book. Kinkaid has a looping, almost cyclical, style, zooming in to read her characters thoughts and shifting back to encompass the politics of race and vicissitudes of history. The novel is as much about her ability to read and write and thus be in control of the illiterate Mr Potter's story, as it is about growing up fatherless. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
In Mr. Potter, Jamaica Kincaid examines the life of the subaltern through an allegory of her narrator's father. Mr. Potter, who can neither read nor write, represents different things to the different people in his life, either his employer, his daughter, or others on the island of Antigua. Mr. Potter's experiences reflect the legacy of colonialism while allowing him to exist as an individual. Kincaid's writing uses repetition and stream-of-consciousness to convey her ideas to her readers. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jan 20, 2016 |
"And this line that runs through Mr. Potter and that he then gave to me, I have not given to anyone, I have not ceded to anyone, I have brought it to an end, I have made it stop with me, for I can read and I can now write and I now say, in writing, that this line drawn through the space where the name of the father ought to be has come to an end, and that from Mr. Potter to me, no one after that shall have a line drawn through the space where the name of the father ought to be, and that through him coming through me, everyone after that shall have a father and a mother and so will inherit twofold the great cauldron of misery and small cup of joy that is all of life."

A wonderful story to read for its lyrical prose and streams of consciousness writing style, but a very difficult book to try and pin down in a review. The story, told from the point of view of one of the subject's unacknowledged offspring, depicts Mr. Potter's life as an uneducated chauffeur in Antiqua, the impact on our narrator of having no father and her impressions of the father she never knew. The story tends to repeat itself in places, almost like a mantra, cementing the information being conveyed in the reader's mind.

As I said, the writing is quite beautiful and has a wonderful relaxing flow to it, but I don't quite know what to say about the story itself. Is it the story of a daughter getting in the last word, and writing a family history that otherwise wouldn't be written? Or is it a story, warts and all, that just needs to be told? Kincaid inserts part of her own life into the story - which parts you may ask? - well, for a start her real birth name and birth date are the name and birth date for our narrator. Both were born in St. John's, Antigua, grew up on the island and both did not have contact with their birth fathers. Does that makes this story autobiographical in nature? Probably not. Best just to say that Kincaid draws upon her own life experiences when she writes and leave it at that.

Favorite quote: "And the world in its entirety and the individuals who contribute to its entirety are small and smaller yet again, and how sad, how sad, how very sad is life, for its glorious beginnings end and the end is always an occasion for sadness, no matter what anyone says."

Overall, an exquisitely written story set in Antigua that should be read when you know you will have a stretch of uninterrupted time on your hands... if you suddenly have to stop reading mid-stream, it is a bit of a hassle to get back into the rhythm and flow of the story. ( )
  lkernagh | Nov 11, 2013 |
Set in Antigua, Mr. Potter is more of a series of snapshots of the way in which Mr. Potter interacted with others. Much of the language was repetitious. It is a far cry from the smooth narratives most of us are accustomed to reading, yet in its own way, it is effective, showing the rhythm in which persons are settled. There is also much allusion in the work. This will never become a favorite book of mine, but I can appreciate the author's unique manner of telling the story of Mr. Potter. ( )
  thornton37814 | Nov 13, 2010 |
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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Jamaica Kincaidauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Cavagnoli, FrancaTraducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé

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And that day, the sun was in its usual place, up above and in the middle of the sky, and it shone in its usual way so harshly bright, making even the shadows pale, making even the shadows seek shelter...
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In this luminous, bewitching new novel Jamaica Kincaid tells the story of an ordinary man, his century, and his home. The island of Antigua comes vibrantly to life under the gaze of Mr Potter, an illiterate taxi chauffer who makes his living driving a navy blue Hillman along the wide-open roads that pass 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. Kincaid conjures up a moving picture of Mr Potter's youth - beginning with memories of his father, a poor fisherman, and his mother, who committed suicide - and the outside world, that presses in on his life. Within these confines, Mr Potter struggles to live at ease- to buy his own car, to have girlfriends, to shake off the encumbrance of his many daughters, one of whom will return to Antigua after he dies, to tell his story with equal measures of distance and sympathy. In MR POTTER Jamaica Kincaid brings alive a figure unlike any in contemporary fiction, an individual consciousness emerging gloriously out of an unexamined life to cast a long shadow.

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813.54 — Literature American and Canadian American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999

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