the long song by Andrea levy

Andrea grew up in britain after her parents came here in the empire windrush in the late 40’s ,a subject she touched on ,in the novel small island .She didn’t start writing til here 30’s and since has had a rise with every novel this is her fifth and is shortlisted for the booker .The novel drifts us back to the Jamaica of the 1800’s where slavery is still in place and the slave July we follow her life from her birth after her mother was raped to her entering service for a vicious english women Caroline Mortimer ,where she is beaten and stab with pins and other things on a regular basis for no apparent reason or little provocation .Meanwhile in the outside world there are great changes underfoot rebellions and just glimpses of freedom for the slaves . to the arrival of a new overseer with a new way of treating slaves ,kindly with is slightly more liberal view of doing the work .

July threw herself upon the floor ,held the dress aloft and yelled, missus ,the dress spoil! Them mash-up your dress .It messed up ,it mess up .Oh beat me ,missus come on beat me ! the dress spoil ,spoil,spoil come tek a whip and beat me I beggin you missus .

July expecting a beating from the violent mistress caroline .

Now this is written in a style of Jamaican english or patois that was spoken by the slaves a relaxed english .July comes across as a highly realistic character that has a hard life and you feel her injustices and triumphs along the way .Levy seems to want to bring some of her own family’s history forward and had done maticlious research for this novel in Jamaica and the uk looking back on records of the time and the slaves life ,Which she described in an interview I heard as a hard task as there was a lot of side information number jobs etc but little or none on how the slaves felt at the time .what Levy has done is capture a young girls struggle to womanhood in the most difficult of circumstances .A book for anyone interested in the history of the time and how slaves lives really were on the plantations

This is one of this years booker shortlist .

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Book Whisperer
    Sep 18, 2010 @ 10:22:44

    I’m interested to read this book, Stu. I have a copy of Small Island at home too (I won it from Kimbofo) which I want to read soon too: have you read that one yet?


  2. JoV
    Sep 18, 2010 @ 20:25:50

    I wanted to read this one but maybe I had to read Small Island first.


  3. Emily Jane
    Sep 19, 2010 @ 00:24:00

    I read Small Island, and though it wasn’t bad, I don’t think Levy’s style is quite for me. Her subject matter though, in that book and in this one, is so interesting.


  4. Eva
    Sep 19, 2010 @ 03:59:31

    I just read my first Levy (the obvious choice: A Small Island), and I definitely want to read more of her now! This new one sounds great. 🙂


    • winstonsdad
      Sep 19, 2010 @ 23:52:39

      I like small island too and enjoyed the tv version shown last year ,have one of her earlier books to read at some point that I picked up second hand ,all the best stu


  5. Claire (Paperback Reader)
    Sep 19, 2010 @ 11:45:30

    I’ve yet to review this but I wasn’t wowed. In fact, I felt rather lacklustre towards it.

    I think Toni Morrison evokes slavery so much better and more powerfully than Levy.


    • winstonsdad
      Sep 19, 2010 @ 23:46:30

      I shall have to try some more of her books read one a long while ago but no more ,I must try a couple more little reader has done some good reviews recently of her work ,all the best stu


  6. amymckie
    Sep 19, 2010 @ 16:09:51

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, I’m glad you enjoyed it Stu.


  7. Kinna
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 19:25:34

    I’m yet to red any Levy. A oversight on my part. I hope to remedy the situation soon. I’m encouraged by your review.


  8. Trackback: SEPTEMBER ROUND UP « Winstonsdad's Blog

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September 2010


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