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Chapter Analysis of See Now Then
  1. "See Now Then"
  3. See Now Then
  4. Jamaica Kincaid: See Now Then
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How much of this comes from the battered psyche of a woman scorned? Perhaps all, but while we know that, we know the ways the psyche cannot bear another blow before it needs to lay it down, get it out, scream the house down. And Ms. Kincaid is perfectly able to defend herself in that way.

"See Now Then"

She admits to faults: obsessing over the insults of her youth, endless knitting and purling clothes no one wanted nor could wear, lavishing attention on her large but messy garden, her hundreds of beautiful bulbs eaten close to bloom by the fatted deer. Killed, murdered, eaten at ripeness. This point has been argued through the ages since the work was published how could it be both?

The Fall was permitted but not forced upon Adam and Eve. The parallels with Mr. Sweet choosing to destroy themselves in the garden in New England by the River Paran are clear.

Sweet loved Mrs. He taught her things though Mrs. Sweet often did things with the knowledge he shared that he did not understand. While Mrs. Sweet does not offer an apple to Mr. Paradise Lost ix The end is not the end in this book, but the promise of a new beginning. The Sweets are no more but the garden remains, and springs forth again each season with new growth. Jul 31, Jennifer rated it really liked it. I so wanted to rate this 5 stars.

I am a fan of Jamaica Kincaid's previous work. I enjoyed listening to her read this book, so much so that I am on my second listen, just to hear it again. You will like this book if you have patience; you may love this book if you love poetry, language, Jamaica Kincaid, or thinking about the passage of time, the tricks of memory, and the sorrow of life; or all of the above.


You will not like this book at all if you are looking for linear storytelling, or storyte I so wanted to rate this 5 stars. You will not like this book at all if you are looking for linear storytelling, or storytelling of any kind, or a lot of action, or even a plot of any kind. I did not know that this book was autobiographical, in fact I knew nothing about it before checking it out, other than the fact that I had liked previous books of hers that I had read. As I started listening, I thought Mrs Sweet seemed like she could be someone like Jamaica Kincaid; but until the first time that Mrs Sweet was actually referred to as "Jamaica" by one of the other characters, I didn't know it was her, and that moment was almost shocking when it came.

An "oh my gosh -- this is about her" moment, which in the context where it appeared was like a punch to the gut. Gut-wrenching, because by that point you are very much invested in her character and the pain she is going through, and realizing that the character is the author herself just makes it more poignant. But in the end, I rated it 4 stars and not 5 stars, because it's something like when you're enjoying a painting my Jamaica-trained inner voice wants to say "a painting, or some other artwork that can be enjoyed in a gallery, or a museum, or some other such place where artworks are enjoyed" And not just because it's about her in some way, but because she is crafting the work so consciously that you can see the craft.

In some ways, that's a pleasure in the same way that it's a pleasure in poetry but in other ways, it's an obstacle to appreciating the messages in the book about hidden undercurrents in relationships and the slipperiness of time and memory.

See Now Then

I would, however, like to personally thank the author for the phrase "shy Myrmidons". I think it may be one of my favorite phrases ever. Feb 18, Ann Phelan Phelan rated it it was ok. I couldn't follow it.. I have read ALL of Ms. Kincaid's books.

Never Mind the Parallels, Don’t Read It as My Life

Having lived in Antigua and having been married to an Antiguan I feel a loyalty and understanding with her writing and experiences Nov 24, Sara rated it liked it Shelves: novels-and-shorts. See now Then. Then is Now. Now is Then. At first, she had to think about the sentences, the rush of thoughts, the constant flow, because Then is Now and Now is Then and the circle of life is not linear, she thought, but the language, the language Then and the language Now is beautiful. Then that being said, once I got used to the flow of the book and the unusual sentence structure, I was swept up in a sad sad story about a marriage gone painfully, sadly, awfully wrong.

The three star rating that See now Then. The three star rating that I gave this book is primarily due to the depressing subject and the cloud that never, ever lifts. The back and forth, Then and Now storytelling is unusual and it does tend to try to round out the picture of the story in the sense that a flashback would do.

This is the story of Mr. Sweet and how they perceive their worlds Now and how they perceive their worlds Then. It is also the story of their two children, Herakles and the Beautiful Persephone whose names I am certain are symbolic if I would take the time to research that. I think a bit of joy would have lightened the heaviness of this book. May 08, Adam rated it really liked it. This is less a novel than an exercise in poetic monologue, in Voice and Character--a darkly playful dirge-for-marriage shot through with surprising laugh-aloud gallows humor; an engine burning the dense and dangerous fuel of bitterness; a book only for the very brave and the unhurried, for those willing to take a careful Orphic expedition through an unsettling landscape where, perhaps, nothing at all may be rescued.

Maybe just this. There are many literary references to Greek mythology, and the narrator's abandonment--as it hits home in the final section, left physically by her husband, left emotionally by her children--conveys just how awful a thing it is to be a god in whom no one any longer has faith, a deity who has lost all her worshipers. On a final, practical note: I recommend springing the extra six bucks and buying the audio book on CD, which gives you the unforgettable experience of hearing Kincaid read this work.

Feb 09, Ruth added it. There has been a lot of hype about this book and it sounded interesting. When I saw it on the library shelf, I had to grab it. I had just finished the new Jen Lancaster book so I thought since this was newer than my next book, I would read it first so that I could get it back to the library so that someone else could read it.

This is a story about the disintegration of a marriage. It takes place in a small town in Vermont and tells about the marriage of Mr And Mrs. Yes, they are referred There has been a lot of hype about this book and it sounded interesting. Yes, they are referred to as Mr and Mrs Sweet! The book is described as the author's first book in ten years and is "brilliant and evocative". The style of writing reminds me of something more akin to the 's than that of the publication date. I have only read 18 pages and I am not sure I can get through any more.

It is so hard to get published that I am not sure how this one made the cut! Jun 28, HomeInMyShoes rated it it was ok Shelves: fiction , aroundtheworld , booklist , antigua-and-barbuda. This was a slow-paced stream of consciousness book. Unlike some like Thomas Bernhard's The Loser run like a freight train, but this is a much slower paced brain. Might be closer to 3 stars, but I grew weary of the "Shirley Jackson" house. I'm sure there was something the author was trying to convey through repeatedly reminding me of this fact in the story, but it lost its usefulness.

Aug 27, Lekeisha The Booknerd rated it liked it.

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My first JK novel and it wasn't as great as I'd hoped. I couldn't relate to this story, at all.

Jamaica Kincaid: See Now Then

Hopefully, the next go 'round will be better. Mar 10, Abby rated it liked it Shelves: books-read-in In her stream of consciousness, lyrical style, Kincaid channels the inner thoughts of a family of four who live in a bucolic, Vermont town.

There is a mother who is a writer Mrs. Sweet , a father who is a composer with thwarted ambitions Mr. The family formerly held great promise, but now they are resigned and bitter, with great animosity towards one another. The mother and father are undergoing a d In her stream of consciousness, lyrical style, Kincaid channels the inner thoughts of a family of four who live in a bucolic, Vermont town. The mother and father are undergoing a divorce, and the children are growing up and away.

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There is not much of a traditional plot in this book, but it did give me a lot think about. Sweet's desire to live a life of intellectual stimulation and refinement requires vast amounts of money; yet, he instinctively abhors thinking about, or working towards, anything as crass as money.

Kincaid does an excellent job of examining this irony and poses an interesting question about art vs.

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Sweet insists in working in absolute silence in his studio above the garage and feels frustrated and underappreciated that he is not more successful. When he meets a young female student who properly appreciates his gifts and talents, he asks for a divorce from Mrs. Kincaid in the narrative voice of Mrs. Sweet points out that Mr. Sweet had many successes in his life his loving family, his large house and that he might not have been able to properly appreciate them in light of his overwhelming ambition. When Mrs. Sweet reflects upon the dissolution of her marriage, she thinks about what first attracted her to Mr.

Sweet, why they got married, the various decrepit apartments they lived in prior to buying the big house in Vermont , and the births of their children.