The Long Song: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010
Now a major BBC TV drama, starring Tamara Lawrance, Lenny Henry and Hayley Atwell.
A Sunday Times bestseller (2011), shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Long Song by Andrea Levy is a hauntingly beautiful, heartbreaking and unputdownable novel of the last days of slavery in Jamaica, for those who loved Homegoing, The Underground Railroad, or the film 12 Years a Slave.
‘A marvel of luminous storytelling’ Financial Times
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.
'A vivid, sometimes brutal and incredibly absorbing story' * Good Housekeeping * '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 tumultuous tale, superbly evoked' * Woman & Home * '[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 * 'Levy has a rare ability to channel the maelstrom of history into the most intimate of human dramas' * New Statesman * '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 * 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 * '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 * 'Thoroughly captivating' * Guardian * 'As well as being beautifully written THE LONG SONG is a thoroughly researched historical novel that is both powerful and heartbreaking' * Daily Express * 'This is a terrific book: beautifully written and imagined, and full of surprises' * A. N. Wilson, Reader's Digest * '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 * 'Bittersweet and mischievous, Levy's keenly awaited new novel is worth the wait for all fans of her SMALL ISLAND' * Daily Mail * '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 *
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