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An unique novel full of humour, wit and passion.
Andrea Levy was born in England to Jamaican parents. She is the author of EVERY LIGHT IN THE HOUSE BURNIN', NEVER FAR FROM NOWHERE, FRUIT OF THE LEMON and SMALL ISLAND. Andrea was a judge in the 1996 Saga Prize for Black Fiction, and in the 1997 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her radio appearances, and readings at literary festivals, bookshops and libraries have helped her to build an enthusiastic following. Andrea is the winner of the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction.
Levy, winner of the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for Small Island, here delivers a solid meditation on the power of family stories. Faith Jackson begins a career in television with optimism only to be stymied by the casual racism that meets her everywhere in London. Confused, Faith turns to her Jamaican-born parents, but their solutions getting married and going to church don't resonate with her. Trapped between two worldviews, Faith literally takes to her bed until an invitation to visit Jamaica opens a new world of possibilities for her. The rambling, disconnected anecdotes of London life give way to an intricate tapestry of lively family narratives as stories of Faith's ancestors provide a foundation from which she can draw strength. Fans of Zadie Smith will appreciate Levy's explorations of race and class but may find it difficult to sympathize with Faith, whose na?vet? can be exasperating. A somewhat abrupt ending and slightly flat secondary characters hinder but do not spoil this otherwise solid effort. Recommended for large fiction collections. Leigh Anne Vrabel, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Levy has a gift for creating character through mimickry, bu tnever succumbs to thepitgalls of sentiment masquerading as authenticity. This is a comic but sharp novel that steers its readers confidently through its heroine's revelatory journey' Times 'Written in an accessible, friendly style' Independent on Sunday 'Funny and moving... Levy is an ironic comedian whose subtle, intelligent novel steers well clear of whimsy' -- Guardian 'A pleasure to read... Entertaining and revelatory' -- TLS 'Reinforces Levy's reputation as an astute observer of modern British life' -- Financial Times 'Always refreshingly undogmatic... [readers] will recognise the truthfulness of the world which Andrea Levy describes' -- Sunday Telegraph
Adult/High School-This book is divided into two major sections. First, readers learn about the protagonist, Faith, and her family's life in England, and that her parents had emigrated from Jamaica on a banana boat, arriving at West India Dock on Guy Fawkes Night and really only knowing England from what they'd learned in school. Life is not exactly as they'd planned it, but over time Wade and Mildred adjust to their new home, get jobs, buy a house, and start a family. They are proud of their children, especially Faith's work in the costume department at BBC, but Faith, who is a credible but sheltered young adult, isn't quite so pleased, as she becomes aware of the hidden and public racism all around her. She decides to visit Jamaica, and the book moves into its second section. Faith meets the family she has known only through letters, photos, and the stories her parents have shared with her. Listening to her Aunt Coral's tales provides her with insight into her parents' lives that she never could have imagined. She makes connections with the people and places of their youth and returns to England with a different perception of her mum, her dad, and herself. None of Faith's Jamaican relationships seems to be deep, but readers sense that maturity is just around the corner, perhaps once she reconnects with her family in Britain.-Joanne Ligamari, Rio Linda School District, Sacramento, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Levy's follow-up to the Orange Prize- and Whitbread-winning Small Island explores how racism reveals itself to a young British-born woman of Jamaican descent, and how the pain can be healed by knowledge of one's roots. Faith Jackson is having a rough go after college: she's fired from her apprenticeship at a prestigious textile designer's and her parents are planning to move back to Jamaica. Though Faith has experienced racism throughout her life, she begins to fear her ethnicity will hobble her career. As she becomes more aware of subtle forms of racism at her entry level job in the BBC costume department and elsewhere, she witnesses a hate crime and, in its aftermath, is sent to Jamaica by her parents for a helpful holiday. It's there, in the second half of the book, that Faith learns a great deal about her extended family and understands why her parents may want to return. Unfortunately, the tone shifts, and what was effective through understatement becomes a rushed unfolding of her family history, complete with diagrams of who begot whom. The change in voice and the narrator's issues with island life (particularly her frustration with its culture) obscure the more poignant aspects of her newfound knowledge. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.