Who Are You?

by pavinr

     Jamaica Kincaid, an Antiguan native, writes this short, powerful and eye opening book which will catch many readers after the first line. The vivid, corrupt and intriguing language set out early in the book is very capturing for the majority of readers.  A Small Place can draw in readers for many reasons, but there were primarily two reasons for me. The first reason was that A Small Place is a slim and exciting read which was done in one sitting. The second and main reason was that Kincaid directs the book to YOU as the reader forcing you to think deeply and question yourself. Kincaid brings forth this book centrally based on colonialism and tourism showing how she suffered going through difficult times and how others deal with tourism. The book is structured into four sections each portraying different issues and information which can be offensive and rude to some readers as the book is very one sided and degrades tourists. The common and strong use of “you” is what makes this book a must read; especially if one travels a lot. It gives the reader a new perspective on how some locals view tourists; views which may have never been thought of before. Kincaid makes it obvious that most tourists are looked at differently and are laughed at by some locals. Antiguans for example, are illustrated to show hate and disgust towards tourists and see them “as a stupid thing, a piece of rubbish pausing here and there to gaze at this and taste that.”This is because Antiguans themselves cannot “go away” on vacation like the tourists they see and escape their own reality. Kincaid’s strong, creative, but honest writing shows the truth on how locals feel towards tourism. This is possible because Kincaid is an Antiguan native who can share from her own past experience of colonialism and tourism. In general, A Small Place brings awareness of tourism and colonialism to each and every reader who picks up this book. It is a definite eye opener to many unseen perspectives and views which will cause you to think next time you’re on vacation among the natives.


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