by Andrea Levy
Category: Fiction / General
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
Publication date: 6 January 2011
Number of pages: 432
Prizes: Winner of Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2011.
Shortlisted for Galaxy National Book Awards: Waterstone's UK Author of the Year 2011.
Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2010.
From the critically acclaimed Andrea Levy, Orange Prize winning author of SMALL ISLAND, comes this breathtaking, hauntingly beautiful, heartbreaking and unputdownable novel, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and longlisted for the Orange Prize. You do not know me yet. My son Thomas, who is publishing this book, tells me, it is customary at this place in a novel to give the reader a little taste of the story that is held within these pages. As your storyteller, I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed. July is a slave girl who lives upon a sugar plantation named Amity and it is her life that is the subject of this tale. She was there when the Baptist War raged in 1831, and she was present when slavery was declared no more. My son says I must convey how the story tells also of July's mama Kitty, of the negroes that worked the plantation land, of Caroline Mortimer the white woman who owned the plantation and many more persons besides - far too many for me to list here. But what befalls them all is carefully chronicled upon these pages for you to peruse. Perhaps, my son suggests, I might write that it is a thrilling journey through that time in the company of people who lived it. All this he wishes me to pen so the reader can decide if this is a novel they might care to consider. Cha, I tell my son, what fuss-fuss. Come, let them just read it for themselves.
What the papers say:
'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 'Bittersweet and mischievous, Levy's keenly awaited new novel is worth the wait for all fans of her SMALL ISLAND' Daily Mail '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 'This is a terrific book: beautifully written and imagined, and full of surprises' A. N. Wilson, Reader's Digest 'As well as being beautifully written THE LONG SONG is a thoroughly researched historical novel that is both powerful and heartbreaking' Daily Express 'Thoroughly captivating' Guardian '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 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 '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 'Levy has a rare ability to channel the maelstrom of history into the most intimate of human dramas' New Statesman '[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 'A tumultuous tale, superbly evoked' Woman & Home '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 vivid, sometimes brutal and incredibly absorbing story' Good Housekeeping
Andrea Levy was born in England to Jamaican parents who came to Britain in 1948. She has lived all her life in London. 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 closely and perceptively at Britain and its changing population and at the intimacies that bind British history with that of the Caribbean.
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