Posts tagged ‘travel’

March 14, 2011

Are you considered a gullible Tourist? Or an experienced World Traveler?

by jsimak

Antigua, an island nine miles wide by twelve miles long, a beautiful island, an island whose beauty seems unreal, a place that one would want to consider visiting to escape the cramped concrete walls of a city. Antigua, whose natives that inhabit the island cannot stand a tourist from America, or worse, Europe.

The island of Antigua, a place one would give a second thought to visiting after reading Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place.  This short eighty-four page mixed narrative expresses not only Kincaid’s view of Antigua from her personal point of view, but also through a brief second person narrative; similar to a travel editorial guiding the reader through the sights and experiences as they step off the plane into Antigua and set off into the city.

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March 14, 2011

Antigua: A Very Small Place

by ToryFinnSaarinen

Jamaica Kincaid takes on a bold tone in her short book, A Small Place. She dismembers the stereotypical view of Antigua as a delightful tourist destination exposes the flaws of its reality. She gets her ideas across using repetition and a unique narrative that seems to makes Antigua’s problems personal.

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March 9, 2011

Let the Finger Pointing Begin

by deenaliguori

If you are the typical tourist who goes to foreign countries and like to enjoy yourself by exploring other cultures then A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid is the book for you. Kincaid is an Antiguan native who expresses her views of Antigua to the average tourist.  Kincaid was born in Antigua and moved to the United States at the age of 16. At times she is abrupt and in your face and questions your thoughts as a traveler. This book will have you second guessing yourself and what you truly do not think nor see when you are too busy vacationing. Kincaid also writes in depth about the Antigua she knew growing up and what really lies behind the spectacular beauty of the small island. Through Kincaid’s opinions and thoughts of the Antigua she knew and what it has become she gets you thinking about the life you live and how lucky you are.

One of the first things you notice when you open the book and begin to read is that the book is divided into four parts. What may be confusing for some reader is that the “chapters” have no titles, but simply faint black and white pictures of Antigua. I found this unique as it was something I have never seen done before. Kincaid’s imagery for example when she speaks about the clear blue ocean or the vast countryside is truly impressive. When reading I even looked up Antigua on the computer. It seemed so beautiful and too good to be true that I had to see an actual photo to believe it. The tone in this book is like no other. Throughout this book you will find yourself stopping and thinking about what Kincaid describes. The way Kincaid attacks you through this book is a bit much but she does manage to get her points across well. In this book you will feel like the finger is always being pointed at you and you are always wrong, which can be a bit frustrating at times.  Like when Kincaid brings up the point that all tourists are ugly, let’s face it who is she to say that? This book not only gives you an in depth look at Antigua but questions you in ways you never truly would as a tourist.

I felt at times it was hard to continue reading when Kincaid was expressing her views, and being hypocritical. She came off as too strong, and I felt she could have expressed her thoughts in a different softer tone than always making us, the average tourist feel like such a bad people. I do feel Kincaid has many true facts about tourists and how oblivious they can be to the realities of its people. Maybe if she went about writing her book in a different way rather than always making us the reader feel at fault then maybe this would have been a great book to recommend.





March 9, 2011

A Small Book With A Big Voice.

by karmill

The book, A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid, is difficult to categorize as a single genre. It could be considered an autobiography, yet could also be considered as History, Political, Travel, Opinion or general Non-Fiction. The book is an expression of the author’s opinions about her experiences as a child growing up on the British colonized island of Antigua, and her views on tourism, government, slavery, racism and unions. Throughout the text, Kincaid expresses her anger that, through no fault of its own, Antigua is no longer what it once was. She states that this is due to many factors, and discusses the Antigua that she knew as a child is not as it was because the ones who ran it, the British as colonizers, no longer run it. She also stresses that prior to her history, Antigua was affected by the European slave trade, the white man’s education system which ignored local custom, history and culture and taught only all things British.
Kincaid uses second person narrative in this book, which makes her statements and comments very direct and blunt to the reader. From the beginning, she uses the word you to address the reader, and begins as if one was a tourist arriving in Antigua. The narrative takes you, the tourist, from the plane through the town to the hotel, all the while projecting her opinions and thoughts onto you, the tourist, in a manner not very flattering. She continues this projection throughout the book, making you into the British rulers, corrupt governors, rich expatriates, all the time projecting her opinions onto each you character.
Kincaid introduces the subject of the formerly splendid, but now damaged library early in the book, explaining the damage from the Earthquake in 1974 and that repairs are pending. The library is used as a representation of everything wrong with how Antigua was treated, and is referenced several times during the book. She says that, as a tourist, you might think it part of the quaintness of the people, descended from slaves, and their unusual sense of time, and not to think of all the unpleasant history and struggles of these quaint people. The library is referred to again as a British colonial building, housing British culture, British values and especially British law. Kincaid then refers to the library nostalgically, lamenting the loss of the beauty, atmosphere, location by the ocean, and the wealth of books available. She mourns the fact that the collection from the old library is housed above a dry-goods store, with most of the books in dusty boxes, unavailable for use. Yet, the unkind expatriates with money will not provide the funds to repair the old library.
Kincaid refers to Antigua several times as a small place. For such a small place, many big events with huge repercussions happened there, and she defends the Antiguans with a very large voice. But, she is careful to point out that, in the end, we are all just human.

April 1, 2009

Shelve under mysterious

by Aurelea

By BrendanBrooks

I spend my days opening boxes and placing books on shelves. Occasionally someone out in Toronto gets a book classification wrong and a history book winds up in cooking. The interesting thing about A Small Place is that it is hard to, well, place. You could put it into travel.

Lodge it in the section right between the Lonely Planet and Rick Steves and you might do alright. The problem is anyone looking to visit the place flipping through the first few pages might be turned right off. Put it with the travel pectorals? No probably not. The picture are faded and washed out. Plus there is only four of them so it won’t quite work out. Although the picture in this book could probably tell you more about the place than anything else on the shelf, if you are willing to look. So how about history? Well no that won’t do either. The small little vignettes of island life and tourist life might classify but there is one small problem. Your average history book 500-1000 pages of hard cold facts. At just over 80 pages A Small Place might get dwarfed really fast.

Fiction? No there is nothing remotely fictional about the subject matter within the book. If anything the book it almost too honest and truthful to the point of uncomfortably. What about the business section you ask? Well as a study on the impact of tourism on a community and livelihood you might have a point. Most business books are about making money fast or currently surviving an economic downturn however and A Small Place lacks the numbers and equations to do so. Maybe in the teen section then? Well you need to ask yourself a few questions first. Does it contain Vampires? Dragons? Cliquey teenage girls? Is it based of a recent television show on the WB? If you didn’t answer yes to any of those questions then I don’t think the teen section is the best place for your book. What about the Computers section? You are joking right? Although stranger things have happened. I think I have the section for you in the end. Cultural studies. There is no question this book looks at two distinct classes of people. There is the gaudy over fed tourist and the exploited island inhabitant and how their interactions affect each other. And though you now find yourself in the same section as Nome Chomsky or Naomi Kline I think the things you have to say about the impact of ignorance on a culture fits right in. so enjoy your new found home. That is until someone comes along and decides you would sell better in cooking.