Bookmarks Magazine's Reviews > Small Island
by Andrea Levy
Levy, the child of parents who sailed from the Caribbean in the first wave of postwar immigration, fictionalizes the immigrant experience in her fourth novel. Relying on memoirs and oral histories, she describes in heartwrenching detail the lives of four individuals in 1948 England. Her plain, humorous style underscores the gravity and immediacy of her themes. She pens deep, convincing characters-Queenie speaks like a true Londoner; Bernard sounds like he served in India. The couples' interactions are often predictable-Levy "manoeuvred her characters into the right place at the right time"-and the range of viewpoints sometimes disorients. Yet, these flaws barely diminish the power of this frank representation of the racism and disappointment of the era. "This is," The Guardian concludes, "Andrea Levy's big book."
This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.