ABSTRACT

This chapter argues that a diasporic self is a self in transit and, therefore, cannot be located in a single autobiographical act. Consequently, lives in transition may be read best when traced through an author’s oeuvre and, in this case, “serial autobiography” becomes a particularly apt lens through which to approach the work of diasporic life writers. Employing an intertextual reading strategy to engage with Jamaica Kincaid’s travelogue, Among Flowers, demonstrates that a self in motion can be more fully understood across life narratives rather than attempting to define a diasporic self in a standalone narrative. Placing this work in conversation with Kincaid’s earlier travel narrative, A Small Place, provides a greater understanding of her diasporic identity as constructed between texts and beyond a single narrative. Despite obvious differences between the two journeys chronicled in these texts-A Small Place is a postcolonial return narrative, while Among Flowers emphasizes Kincaid’s standing as a prominent US author-when read together, they present interconnected parallels that map a life in constant flux between national identities. Focusing on the ways in which Kincaid uses metaphors of movement in the two texts to exemplify the fraught mobility of the tourist moving through new spaces, this chapter maintains that these two works position diasporic movement akin to such a vacation. The diasporic journey, however, lacks the relief of a return to “home.”