I’m not sure where I ran across a copy of Talk Stories, I think it was in the airport. I am sure that I noticed the authors name as someone who had written for the New Yorker Magazine. By the the time I was getting the New Yorker in the mail Jamaica Kincaid wrote full length pieces and not very often. But I remembered her name. She had written a piece about gardening. I think it was about a seed catalog that she used.
Anyway I found this book and found a beautiful voice. Talk Stories is a book of 77 short pieces that Jamaica Kincaid wrote for the New Yorker column, “Talk Of The Town”. She wrote the column from 1974 til ‘83. I love the way she wrote these columns. It was almost as if you were reading a list, a list written by a very good writer. At the time she began writing Talk of the Town, I think she was just starting to write. So this is how she cut her teeth, learned her chops if you will.
I had been reading the New Yorker and the Talk column for years before I found her book. Looking back, not one other Talk writer was able to do what she did for that column. She made the most mundane events, political rallies and such, sound like a fun day in the city. She always wrote in the “we” voice, I don’t know why, maybe she was told to.
I quit taking the New Yorker about a year after the war. I am so tired of hearing about how we botched that effort to hell and back. I guess that is the same reason I don’t listen to NPR’s show Fresh Air as much as I used to. Both of these vehicles were once a great source for information into the arts, science and current events. Not so much these days. I look at it as another casualty of the war.Anyway if you get the chance check out this book Talk Stories. It’s good stuff.