novel set mostly in World War II Britain, focusing on 4 characters--two born in England, two born in Jamaica but thinking of Britain as the "Mother Country;" portrays believable clash of cultures with well-rounded characters, flawed but likable; very funny in spots
Excellent novel. If you liked Zadie Smith's White Teeth, you'll love this book.
A story of Jamaican immigrants in post WWII London, this book looks at the unmet expectations of returning soldiers as well as the tarnished realities of a promised land. The author was born in England of Jamaican parents and writes with honesty and a "hole in the bucket" humor.
Good WWII story and the problems of Jamaicans trying to make it in post WWII Britian
An interesting look at post war London from the eyes of Jamaican immigrants. A really good book.
This book earmarked Andrea Levy as a major literary talent. This book certainly deserves the awards it's won, and it far exceeded my expectations. The title encompasses both the physical land and the mind set of many of the personalities in this noteworthy book. The characters all have a bitter sweetness that took me off guard many times. I prepared to explain Hortense with two or three flippant adjectives until the end of the book when her sweetness overcame the bitter qualities that had been her trademark until then. Gilbert showed a protectiveness of Hortense and a humor about himself that made him extremely likeable, while Queenie's wisdom and selflessness at the end of the book ensured that a child would grow up whole rather than shattered. If there is a message contained in this book, I think it is that humanity cannot be pigeon-holed by something as unimportant as race, color or creed. All of us are flawed, all of us are perfect. I loved this book - it is well worth reading and then reflecting on its meanings.
Not incredibly gripping at first, but once i got into it I couldn't put it down. Beautifully written with a surprisingly satisfying twist at the end. I will definitely check out Levy's other novels. Definitely recommended.
This was a great reading experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Excellent novel on the immigrant experience. Cleverly written from the perspective of multiple characters.
Winner of the Orange Prize, Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year
While I liked this book, I didn't find it a compelling read. I never seemed to invest in the characters. Interesting topic and setting - England during and post-WWII. Jamaican immigrants living in war torn London at the close of the war - many of them former RAF themselves - face discrimination and hardships. Again, it's a relatively good book, but not one I had a hard time putting down.
The story started slowly the it picked up and gave me a vivid look into the lives of these very different British Citizens.
Andrea Levy's award-winning novel, Small Island, deftly brings two bleak families into crisp focus. First a Jamaican family, including the well-intentioned Gilbert, who can never manage to say or do exactly the right thing; Romeo Michael, who leaves a wake of women in his path; and finally, Hortense, whose primness belies her huge ambition to become English in every way possible. The other unhappy family is English, starting with Queenie, who escapes the drudgery of being a butcher's daughter only to marry a dull banker. As the chapters reverse chronology and the two groups collide and finally mesh, the book unfolds through time like a photo album, and Levy captures the struggle between class, race, and sex with a humor and tenderness that is both authentic and bracing. The book is cinematic in the best way--lighting up London's bombed-out houses and wartime existence with clarity and verve while never losing her character's voice or story. --Meg Halverson
I really enjoyed the connection between the characters in this book and how they all intertwined without even knowing it.
It may be because i have just read some great books recently, but I just could not get into this book.
Thoroughly enjoyed this book about a couple of Jamaican soldiers who went to war to fight for the "mother" country of England and found themselves afterward disdained, segregated and hated. This is a historical romance with a clash of cultures and values, and very well written.