Small Island (Andrea Levy)

Ms Harrison has also been reading ‘Small Island’ by Andrea Levy.

 In this delicately wrought and profoundly moving, multi-award winning novel, Andrea Levy handles the weighty themes of empire, prejudice, war and love, with a lightness of touch and a generosity of spirit that challenges and uplifts the reader. It is 1948, and England is recovering from a war. But at 21 Nevern Street,  London, the conflict has only just begun. Queenie Bligh’s neighbours do not approve when she agrees to take in Jamaican lodgers, but with her husband, Bernard, not back from the war, what else can she do? Gilbert Joseph was one of the several thousand Jamaican men who joined the RAF to fight against Hitler. Returning to England as a civilian he finds himself treated very differently. Gilbert’s wife Hortense, too, had longed to leave Jamaica and start a better life in England. But when she joins him she is shocked to find London shabby, decrepit, and far from the city of her dreams. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was.”  Nielsen Bookdata Online

Please find below Ms Harrison’s view of the book:

“I’ve just finished ‘Small Island’ by Andrea Levy. Wow!! Having not watched the TV serialisation (which I understand was not received at all well), this was an immensely rewarding (funny and devastating by turns) account of four people’s experiences of racial divides during WW2. Of all three books, this was the only one that had me regularly laughing out loud and in floods of tears by the end. Levy has an extraordinarily convincing way of writing characters that are full-bodied – neither wholly virtuous nor sinful.”

I didn’t see the televised dramatisation of the book, but did listen to it on the radio, and enjoyed it immensely – now to the book itself and to enjoy…

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Author: Berkhamsted School Library

Main aims for Berkhamsted School Library • to provide a central resource for the whole school curriculum • to encourage an ethos of enquiry and discovery • to assist pupils in becoming confident and independent learners • to develop research and information skills throughout the school • to offer resources which enrich cultural values and experiences for pupils, as well as have a role in their recreational life and promote reading for pleasure as a lifelong activity

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