In 2008 at the age of eighty-nine, Nobel laureate Doris Lessing returned to the mother who has haunted her life and her literature in order to rewrite a fictional account of the life that might have been and a biographical account of the life that she actually lived in Alfred & Emily. Her efforts to finally exorcise the powerful and hated figure that has hounded her for most of her eighty-nine years call to mind similar efforts throughout the canon of fifty-nine-year-old celebrated Antiguan-American novelist Jamaica Kincaid to free herself. Both writers take advantage of and seek to find some degree of vengeance in their opportunity to have the last word about their mothers.

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Copyright © 2010, University of the West Indies. This article first appeared in Journal of West Indian Literature: 19:1 (2010), 1-21.

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