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Small Island by Andrea Levy
  

Small Island

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A 2012 World Book Night selection.

A novel about racism, prejudice and injustice in the post war years in London as Jamaicans, escaping economic hardship, move to the Mother Country. Told from four characters’ points of view, it deserves all the accolade and prizes it has received. Powerful yet light in touch, humorous yet high in drama, it is a most rewarding and touching read. Won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2004 and on the 25th Jan 2005 the Whitbread 2004 overall.

Comparison: Monica Ali, Hanif Kureishi, Zadie Smith.

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

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Synopsis

Small Island by Andrea Levy

It is 1948, and England is recovering from a war. But at 21 Nevern Street, London, the conflict has only just begun. Queenie Bligh’s neighbours do not approve when she agrees to take in Jamaican lodgers, but Queenie doesn’t know when her husband will return, or if he will come back at all. What else can she do? Gilbert Joseph was one of the several thousand Jamaican men who joined the RAF to fight against Hitler. Returning to England as a civilian he finds himself treated very differently. It’s desperation that makes him remember a wartime friendship with Queenie and knock at her door. Gilbert’s wife Hortense, too, had longed to leave Jamaica and start a better life in England. But when she joins him she is shocked to find London shabby, decrepit, and far from the golden city of her dreams. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was.

Reviews

‘‘What makes Levy’s writing so appealing is her even-handedness. All her characters can be weak, hopeless, brave, good, bad - whatever their colour. The writing is rigorous and the bittersweet ending, with its unexpected twist, touching... People can retain great dignity, however small their island’
Independent on Sunday, 25/1/04

‘Every scene is rich in implication, entrancing and disturbing at the same time; the literary equivalent of a switch-back ride’
The Sunday Times, 29/2/04

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

13th September 2004

Author

Andrea Levy

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Author's Website

www.andrealevy.co.uk/

Publisher

Headline

Format

Paperback
560 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Family Drama
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780755307500

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