Every scene is rich in implication, entrancing and disturbing at the same time; the literary equivalent of a switch-back ride ( The Sunday Times)
What makes Levy's writing so appealing is her even-handedness. All her characters can be weak, hopeless, brave, good, bad - whatever their colour. The writing is rigorous and the bittersweet ending, with its unexpected twist, touching... People can retain great dignity, however small their island ( Independent on Sunday)
'A cracking good read' ( Margaret Forster)
'A great read...honest, skilful, thoughtful and important' ( Guardian)
'Explores the Caribbean experience of immigration to Britain with great sensitivity' ( Independent)
'Wonderful...seamless...a magnificent achievement' ( Linda Grant)
'Never less than finely written, delicately and often comically observed, and impressively rich in detail and little nuggets of stories' ( Evening Standard)
'An engrossing read - slyly funny, passionately angry and wholly involving' ( Daily Mail)
'A work of great imaginative power' ( Linton Kwesi Johnson)
'As full of warmth and jokes and humanity as you could wish' ( Time Out)
'Gives us a new urgent take on our past' ( Vogue)
Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, as well as many other awards, Andrea Levy's SMALL ISLAND is a delicately wrought and profoundly moving novel of empire, prejudice, war and love. It has now been adapted into a major BBC TV drama.
It is 1948, and England is recovering from a war. But at 21 Nevern Street, London, the conflict has only just begun. Queenie Bligh's neighbours do not approve when she agrees to take in Jamaican lodgers, but Queenie doesn't know when her husband will return, or if he will come back at all. What else can she do? Gilbert Joseph was one of the several thousand Jamaican men who joined the RAF to fight against Hitler. Returning to England as a civilian he finds himself treated very differently. It's desperation that makes him remember a wartime friendship with Queenie and knock at her door. Gilbert's wife Hortense, too, had longed to leave Jamaica and start a better life in England. But when she joins him she is shocked to find London shabby, decrepit, and far from the golden city of her dreams. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was...
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