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Praise for Andrea Levy: 'There is great skill in the way she presents characters and dialogue; she has powers of observation and an ear for language that make her books a pleasure to read' Times Literary Supplement
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 six books, including SMALL ISLAND, which was the unique winner of both the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread book of the Year, in addition to the Commonwealth Writer's Prize and the Orange Prize 'Best of the Best'. Her most recent novel, THE LONG SONG, won the Walter Scott Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Having survived the extremes of brutality and privilege, and now at an advanced age, the former slave named Miss July is compelled to share the story of her life. Her grown son, a well-educated gentleman and a printer by trade, frames the story as he gently informs the reader of Miss July's headstrong ways. Powerless throughout most of her life, Miss July now clearly enjoys the opportunity to embellish-and to edit-her story however she wishes. Born to a Jamaican field slave in the 1820s, she tells heart-wrenching tales from her years on the Amity sugar plantation. As for the British plantation owners, their tendencies toward folly and self-delusion pave the way for the slave revolt known as the Baptist Wars of 1831. Even the best-intentioned whites who come to the island to fight for abolition end up succumbing to the intense Jamaican heat and the madness of the constant struggle for power. Verdict As Levy proved in her Orange Prize-winning Small Island, her particular ability lies in giving voice to her characters. Her fifth novel is a stunning portrait of slavery and resilience that will stay with the reader long after the last page has been turned. Highly recommended for readers of historical fiction. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/10.]-Susanne Wells, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
'A vivid, sometimes brutal and incredibly absorbing story' * Good Housekeeping * 'Levy has slipped through the cracks of history and beautifully animated a subject about which, on a human level, we know depressingly little' * Metro * 'A tumultuous tale, superbly evoked' * Woman & Home * '[Levy] has painted a vivid and persuasive portrait of Jamaican slave society, a society that succeeded with bravery, style and strategic patience both to outsmart its oppressors and to plant the seeds of what is today a culture celebrated worldwide' * New York Times * 'Levy has a rare ability to channel the maelstrom of history into the most intimate of human dramas' * New Statesman * 'Levy brings her distinctive lightness of touch to what is otherwise unrelentingly bleak subject matter... This is a beautifully written and cleverly constructed novel that projects convincing personal relationships on to the feral backdrop of the Jamaican plantations' * The Times * Beautifully written, intricately plotted, humorous and earthy... Those who enjoyed SMALL ISLAND will love THE LONG SONG, not just for the insights on the "wretched island", but as a marvel of luminous storytelling' * Financial Times * 'A novel such as SMALL ISLAND is a hard act to follow, but in her new book Levy has moved into top gear... She dares to write about her subject in an entertaining way without ever trivialising it and THE LONG SONG reads with the sort of ebullient effortlessness that can only be won by hard work' * Observer * 'Thoroughly captivating' * Guardian * 'As well as being beautifully written THE LONG SONG is a thoroughly researched historical novel that is both powerful and heartbreaking' * Daily Express * 'This is a terrific book: beautifully written and imagined, and full of surprises' * A. N. Wilson, Reader's Digest * 'Slavery is a grim subject indeed, but the wonder of Levy's writing is that she can confront such things and somehow derive deeply life-affirming entertainment from them... Levy's aim, she says, was to write a book that instilled pride in anyone with slave ancestors and THE LONG SONG, though "its load may prove to be unsettling", is surely that book' * Sunday Telegraph * 'Bittersweet and mischievous, Levy's keenly awaited new novel is worth the wait for all fans of her SMALL ISLAND' * Daily Mail * 'THE LONG SONG is is told with irresistible cunning; it is captivating, mischievious and optimistic, generating new stories and plot lines throughout the tale' * Daily Telegraph *