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Small Island
Small Island
Author: Andrea Levy
Winner of the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction — 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, Queen...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780312424671
ISBN-10: 0312424671
Publication Date: 4/1/2005
Pages: 448
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 64 ratings
Publisher: Picador
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Small Island on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Excellent novel. If you liked Zadie Smith's White Teeth, you'll love this book.
reviewed Small Island on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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
reviewed Small Island on + 378 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed Small Island on
Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed Small Island on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Good WWII story and the problems of Jamaicans trying to make it in post WWII Britian
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reviewed Small Island on + 506 more book reviews
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.
reviewed Small Island on
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
reviewed Small Island on + 54 more book reviews
This was a great reading experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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