Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Kincaid may be haunted by memory, but she faces her fears by giving them voice. In this National Book Award runnerup, this notably unsparing author presents a seamless narrative of her brother Devon’s last days with AIDS. When duty forces her to return to Antigua—a place filled only with pain for the author—Kincaid tries to make sense of the paths he chose, but comes up wanting. “His life unfolded before me not like a map just found, or a piece of paper just found, his life unfolded and there was everything to see and nothing to see.” No matter how much we think we know, Kincaid assures us, the interior lives of those we love are never fully open to us. The chasm between what we are and what we present to the world is simply too great.