In Jamaica Kincaid's six previous autobiographical novels and essays (At the Bottom of the River, 1984; Annie John, 1985; A Small Place, 1988; Annie, Gwen, Lily, Pam and Julie, 1989; Lucy, 1990; and The Autobiography of My Mother, 1996), her readers have the feeling that she has told all about her troubled life in Antigua and her painful emotional conflicts with her family (especially her mother). We discover with her new memoir, My Brother, however, that some things have been just too painful to tell - until now. Clearly the most obvious omission from these earlier works is her three brothers, whose appearance after Jamaica was nine years old was one of the many "betrayals" for which she can never forgive her mother. Their disruption of her previously Edenic family life as an only child was apparently so traumatic that she chose to write her brothers out of her family history - until now.

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Copyright © 1998, A&U Magazine. This article first appeared in Art & Understanding: 7 (1998), 59-62.

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