The Long Song
THE AUTHOR OF SMALL ISLAND TELLS THE STORY OF THE LAST TURBULENT YEARS OF SLAVERY AND THE EARLY YEARS OF FREEDOM IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY JAMAICA
Small Island introduced Andrea Levy to America and was acclaimed as “a triumph” (San Francisco Chronicle). It won both the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and has sold
I found the depiction of the black Jamaican slaves positively insulting. Their plight and their path toward freedom is a central theme, but they need not be presented so degradingly.
The writing is wordy and convoluted. Get to the point. I do not want to wade through all these words to get the gist of the story.
The characters, they were all very unappealing. Not just unappealing, downright despicable. Whites and blacks alike.
If you are looking for a smidgen...more
As slavery comes to an end in Jamaica after an inconceivable 300 years, we learn about the life and times of July. House-slave on a sugar plantation with a fat and useless mistress, July overcomes a painful separation from her formidable field-slave mothe...more
There are numerous overt and subtle incidences of rape, murder, and other horrific injustice throughout the book, and Levy shows how the slaves, by managing not to foc...more
I enjoyed Andrea Levy's narration and found the story of July's early life very interesting. However, I felt that...more
The Long Song is set on a Jamaican sugar plantation in the last years of slavery. Although it deals with some horrific events, it does so with a great deal of humour. This is in no small part due to Levy’s characterisation of her main character, the sassy slave girl...more
So says Thomas Kinsman, a Jamaican publisher, who learned his trade in Britain after his mother abandoned him, newborn, on the doorstep of a Baptist missionary. Thomas intends to publish his mother’s book – a memoir – very nicely bound, complete with sugar cane on the cover. However, he and his mother, an octogenarian Jamaican woman named July, who was once a slave on the Amity Plantation, definitely do not see eye-to-eye. Thomas tells us in his Introduc...more
This book grew on me. The narrator is named July. Born on a Jamaica sugarcane plantation in the...more
Our narrator is July, a black woman born into slavery in Jamaica. July is relating the story of her life - and later freedom as slavery was abolished in Jamaica in 1838 - for her son a successful printer in 1898. By her own admission July is not always a reliable story teller - but gradually her story is revealed. Not surpr...more
She is poetic, tough, sly, funny and “unreliable.” I put that in quotation marks because her lack of reliability is only in...more
Anyways, The Long Song had an interesting story. Actually I'll change that, it had the potential to be a very good story. Unfortunately the nattative of July and her son just wasn't up to scratch. The interjections throughout the book, whilst I assume they were there to guide the reader through a fairly lacklustre story, j...more
The book is written with simplicity and grace, using the Caribbean patois to gre...more
I love the way the story opens. It has a lyrically style and causes the reader to want to follow the narrative from beginning to end. Here is the opening paragraph:
The book you are now holding within your hand was born of a craving. My mama had a story – a story that lay so fat within h...more
Levy's new book is Long Song. It's out already out in the UK--where my copy came from via friend Simon--and it's due out here in April. I am predicting that...more