Friday, January 21, 2011

The Long Song | Andrea Levy

Levy is English, born of Jamaican parents who emigrated in 1948 to England. This novel is about the lives of white planters and black slaves in the time of the Baptist Rebellion and beyond. The narrator is July, a slave on Amity, a plantation in Jamaica. The slaves are many, the overseer cruel, the masters feeble and incompetent, the mistresses, an embarrassment.
I found it a good read, but I became impatient with some of the white characters who were drawn in a less favorable light than the blacks. The story is primarily about the abolition of slavery and Jamaica's history since then so our sympathies are very much with the slave population but the tedium of engaging with the whites made me impatient to finish the book. I also found it very similar to "James Miranda Barry" by Patricia Dunker. I'm not sure if it is because of this that I didn't find it an altogether satisfying read, but on the strength of the writing I will chase down some of Levy's other novels and read them as she is very talented.
The Long Song
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