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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 1 April 2010.
Longlisted for the prestigious 2010 Orange Prize.
February 2010 Book of the Month.
With the recent television adaptation of Levy’s best known novel, Small Island, there has been great anticipation of this new novel and Levy does not disappoint. A sensitive story told through the eyes of a young girl enslaved on a Jamaican plantation in the 1800’s. Mesmerising, fascinating and moving this is another gem of a book.
March 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.
The Good Housekeeping view...
Her previous novel, Small Island, was a massive success, winning numerous awards including the Orange Prize for Fiction, and was adapted into a BBC1 drama. Now comes The Long Song (Headline), a vivid, sometimes brutal and incredibly absorbing story of life on a Jamaican sugar plantation during the turbulent dying days of slavery. Told in the words of July, a resourceful and necessarily resilient housemaid, it portrays the struggle of master and slave to find their place in the world, and is ultimately a tale of salvation.
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You do not know me yet. My son Thomas, who is publishing this book, tells me, it is customary at this place in a novel to give the reader a little taste of the story that is held within these pages. As your storyteller, I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed. July is a slave girl who lives upon a sugar plantation named Amity and it is her life that is the subject of this tale. She was there when the Baptist War raged in 1831, and she was also present when slavery was declared no more. My son says I must convey how the story tells also of July's mama Kitty, of the negroes that worked the plantation land, of Caroline Mortimer the white woman who owned the plantation and many more persons besides - far too many for me to list here. But what befalls them all is carefully chronicled upon these pages for you to peruse. Perhaps, my son suggests, I might write that it is a thrilling journey through that time in the company of people who lived it. All this he wishes me to pen so the reader can decide if this is a book they might care to consider. Cha, I tell my son, what fuss-fuss. Come, let them just read it for themselves.
About the Author
Andrea Levy was born in London, England in 1956 to Jamaican parents. Her first three novels explored - from different perspectives - the problems faced by black British-born children of Jamaican emigrants.
Her first novel, the semi-autobiographical Every Light in the House Burnin' (1994), is the story of a Jamaican family living in London in the 1960s. Her second, Never Far From Nowhere (1996), is set during the 1970s and tells the story of two very different sisters living on a London council estate. In her third, Fruit of the Lemon (1999), Faith Jackson, a young black Londoner, visits Jamaica after suffering a nervous breakdown and discovers a previously unknown personal history.
Small Island, her fourth novel,(2004), is set in 1948 and through the stories of both English and Jamaican characters it explores a point in England's past when the country began to change.
Andrea Levy has been a judge for the Saga Prize and the Orange Prize for Fiction. As well as novels she has also written short stories which have been read on radio and anthologised. She has been recipient of an Arts Council Writers Award and was the winner of the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction. She lives and works in London.
Andrea Levy’s writing springs off the page at me. It is so full of energy, colour and verve. Her novel Small Island, rightly showered with awards, about the post war arrival of Caribbean immigrants to Britain and their struggle to integrate into a closed society, is a delight from start to finish.