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The Long Song by Andrea Levy

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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.

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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.

If you like Andrea Levy you might also like to read books by Andre Dubus III, Zadie Smith and Jackie Kay.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Set in Jamaica in the years either side of the abolition of slavery in 1838, this is the tale of July, born to Kitty after she is abused by the overseer. The story explodes with the brutality of the so-called Baptist War, when slaves rose in revolt. That Levy can handle this horror yet fill the book with humour is a tribute to her talent.


The Long Song by Andrea Levy

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

Andrea Levy was born in England to Jamaican parents who came to Britain in 1948. After attending writing workshops when she was in her mid-thirties, Levy began to write the novels that she, as a young woman, had always wanted to read - entertaining novels that reflect the experiences of black Britons, which look at Britain and its changing population and at the intimacies that bind British history with that of the Caribbean.

She has written five novels, been a judge for the Orange Prize for Fiction, Orange Futures and the Saga Prize, and has been a recipient of an Arts Council Aw ard. Her most recent novel, The Long Song, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Author photo © Laurie Fletcher

Fellow novelist ANNE BERRY on ANDREA LEVY

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th February 2010


Andrea Levy

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