Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Long Song by multi-million-copy best-selling author Andrea Levy is a hauntingly beautiful, heartbreaking and unputdownable novel, which will resonate with everyone who went to see the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave and fans of Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees.
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.
Wow what a performance, Andrea Levy delivers a captivating narration of her novel. Levy has written a masterfully conceived narrative, with a surprising tone. one of the best audiobook experiences I've had.
I read this for a book group, initially I was dreading reading a book about slavery as the subject is so awful and the stories so tragic and painful, but what I found was this was different, as although its gut wrenching sad in parts you have to go there and back for the high points and it's worth it. Hearing the voice of the narrator in the vernacular and how it is written is so rich and makes it so much more immersive in her voice. I felt reading about this subject which I haven't for very many years I learnt such a lot about the systematic mechanisms of oppression used in those times to exert control and the subtleties of prejudice. I will be reading more from Andrea Levy thanks to my book group Books that Bite with Claire Hadfield.
Gives an insight into slavery in Jamaica.
The main character July ,born a slave has to witness her Mother's death.
Any additional comments?
I read Small Island by Andrea Levy when it was first published and really enjoyed it. It reminded me of some of the stories my grandparents had shared with me of their arrival here in the UK from Jamaica. I had hoped I would enjoy The Long Song as much but I found it a real effort to break into. I'm now 5 chapters in, having re-started the book three times, and I'm now retiring my efforts. I found Andrea's narration grating. I'm going to get a hardcopy of the book and read it for myself and see if that improves my enjoyment or maybe it's just that this book isn't for me.
Great story of what could easily have happened on a post slavery plantation.....more please Mrs Levy
What would have made The Long Song better?
I suspected that I might find this reading difficult before I chose it as one of the readers, Andrea Levy, has a strong accent and I struggle to follow this easily. However, as I have loved all Andrea Levy's other books I eventually decided to give it a try especially as the story is about her life and experiences. I have started the book 4 times but not been able to finish it. the heavy accent was so hard going that I could not concentrate and kept losing the thread of the tale. I just had to give up.
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