Monday, June 30, 2008

A Small Place

Last week, I was at a friend's house in Philadelphia and there on the living room floor was the most recent issue of Lapham's Quarterly. In it, I read an excerpt from Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place. The passage was so beautiful, so clear, so choked with feeling, that I had to get the book. I got it on Friday. It's a short book, and it's stunning. Kincaid's language, her control, her use of parenthetical remarks, it's astonishing, all the more so because what comes through the gorgeousness of her words is, primarily, rage. It comes at you like a blast from a furnace, but the language is so gorgeous and sly that it's a little hard to assimilate what's happening to you at first. Like, you don't realize right away that the words on the pages of the book in your hand aren't inanimate strokes of black on white with curves and dots to guide you. They're not that benign and they're not that dead. Individually, they bristle. Taken together, they hurl themselves at you, elegantly. All this to say: You must read this book.

And Lapham's Quarterly, too.

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