In this acclaimed travel memoir Jamaica Kincaid chronicles a spectacular and exotic three-week trek through the Himalayan land of Nepal, where she and her companions are gathering seeds for planting at home. The natural world and, in particular, plants and gardening are central to Kincaid’s work. Among Flowers intertwines meditations on nature and stunning descriptions of the Himalayan landscape with observations on the ironies, difficulties and dangers of this magnificent journey.
For Kincaid and three botanist friends, Nepal is a paradise, a place where a single day’s hike can traverse climate zones, from subtropical to alpine, encompassing flora suitable for growing at their homes, from Wales to Vermont. Yet as she makes clear, there is far more to this foreign world than rhododendrons that grow thirty feet high. Danger, too, is a constant companion – and the leeches are the least of their worries. Unpredictable Maoist guerrillas live in these perilous mountains, and when they do appear – as they do more than once – their enigmatic presence lingers long after they have melted back into the landscape. And Kincaid, who writes of the looming, lasting effects of colonialism in her works, necessarily explores the irony of her status as memsahib with Sherpas and bearers.
A wonderful blend of introspective insight and beautifully rendered description, Among Flowers is a vivid, engrossing, and characteristically frank memoir from one of the most striking voices in contemporary literature.
Part of the Picador Collection, a new series showcasing the best in modern literature.
Kincaid takes her authenticity with her wherever she goes…engaging and stealthily funny
San Francisco Chronicle
What a writer – elegant, uncompromising, simultaneously direct and layered and complex.
I’ve read everything by Jamaica Kincaid, and I’ve still never read anyone like her. If you are new to Kincaid, I envy you.