F örlusten of any you never had, but should have had, can be just as fatal as when someone you have a close relationship to the pressure from a. “My mother died the moment I was born,” is a kind of mantra in Jamaica Kincaid “My mother’s autobiography”; time after time it pops up as to highlight the strength of the fate that has been enshrined in a man already in the moment of birth. A child without a mother. A relationship that never loses, but nevertheless – or precisely because – dominates life in virtue of his absence.
The relationship between mother and daughter is a frequent theme in Kincaid’s writings. In childhood depiction “Annie John” from 1985, which was published in Swedish in the new few years ago, depicted a relationship that goes from symbiotic to the frosty overnight. Both are suffering, but no one is able to stretch out a hand, and instead gets the reader painfully aware of how close love and hate are to each other, how quickly the former can move in the latter, and how impossible reconciliation can actually be.
“My mother’s autobiography” missing prerequisites for both proximity and hostility. Xuela Claudette Richardson spends his first years of the woman who takes care of his father’s laundry before he marries and gets her home. Her childhood and youth are characterized by a rich inner world and a dissolute sexuality where the ability to love is put to shame from the start.
Humans tend to feel confident with it familiar, and for the child who has not been loved is lovelessness recognizable and understandable. When Xuela meets his father’s new wife and discontent in its face is the situation trustworthy: “No love? Good, then I’d soon be at home. It was an environment I was used to. Love would have been my downfall. “
The private parent loss and lack of love is woven into” My mother’s autobiography “together with colonialism far-reaching effects in the Caribbean, in this case the Republic of Dominica. The subordination determined by ethnicity and gender, melts this combined with the vulnerability that comes from the loss of love. Both are a kind of proof of everything unreliability and “Xuelas stance is not to trust någonm, only himself,” as Kristina Sandberg writes in his preface.
Xuelas way to survive is to develop a passionate relationship to itself, and not least to his own body and its capacity for pleasure. From this obsession with their own fragrances and body parts growing strength. It is a force that arises out of necessity, and the aged Xuela that looks back on his life is very aware of its nature as a substitute, “I had to love myself, in spite of and in despair, for me there was nothing else. This kind of love may well suffice, but not much more. “
Jamaica Kincaid’s prose is as usual excellence; words are added to words insightful, clear and self-evident that leaves no room for objections. “My mother’s autobiography” is a story of survival under sad circumstances, but it is light years from the möstergilla story of dandelion child overcoming his difficult childhood.
Instead of the classic ingredients success and reconciliation, writes Kincaid – as in “Annie John” – a life that was as it was. When the self towards the end of the book waits – no, crave! – Death is not the place for a few euphemisms: “This autobiography is a testimony of a person who never got to be and the person I never allowed myself to be.”
Yes, “My mother’s autobiography “is a sad novel, but it is also comforting. Not that it promises to mend his ways, but on the contrary for not doing it. Jamaica Kincaid is an honest writer – completely true, the inner meaning – and that makes her reliable.