Small Island: A Novel

Front Cover
Picador, Apr 1, 2010 - Fiction - 448 pages

Winner of the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction
A Picador Original Trade Paperback

Hortense Joseph arrives in London from Jamaica in 1948 with her life in her suitcase, her heart broken, her resolve intact. Her husband, Gilbert Joseph, returns from the war expecting to be received as a hero, but finds his status as a black man in Britain to be second class. His white landlady, Queenie, raised as a farmer's daughter, befriends Gilbert, and later Hortense, with innocence and courage, until the unexpected arrival of her husband, Bernard, who returns from combat with issues of his own to resolve.

Told in these four voices, Small Island is a courageous novel of tender emotion and sparkling wit, of crossings taken and passages lost, of shattering compassion and of reckless optimism in the face of insurmountable barriers---in short, an encapsulation of that most American of experiences: the immigrant's life.

 

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User Review  - oldblack - www.librarything.com

Didn't find this at all engaging. Perhaps too remote from my experience, but I think the characters seemed two-dimensional and their inner thoughts too hidden from me. Read full review

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User Review  - AJBraithwaite - LibraryThing

Solidly researched and skillfully woven, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It's a strong reminder of how small-minded Europeans can be in relation to the people of their former colonies. I had no idea ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Title Page
Nine Queenie
Ten Hortense
Twenty Hortense
Before
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Born in London, England to Jamaican parents, Andrea Levy (1956-2019) was the author of Small Island, winner of the Whitbread Award (now Costa Award), the Orange Prize for Fiction (now Women’s Prize for Fiction), and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. The BBC Masterpiece Classic television adaptation of her novel won an International Emmy for best TV movie/miniseries.

Andrea’s other books include the Man Booker Prize finalist The Long Song, also adapted by the BBC for television, and Fruit of the Lemon, among others.

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