Small Island




Titel en schrijver
Small Island, Andrea Levy
ISBN nr.
Uitgeverij, drukjaar en drukversie
Headline, 2004, eerste druk
Paperback of hardcover
Aantal pagina’s
Taal en categorie
Engels , Roman
Korte samenvatting
Returning to England after the war, Gilbert Joseph is treated very differently now that he is no longer in an RAF uniform. Joined by his wife Hortense, he rekindles a friendship with Queenie who takes in Jamaican lodgers. Can their dreams of a better life in England overcome the prejudice they face?

Hortense shared Gilbert’s dream of leaving Jamaica and coming to England to start a better life. But when she at last joins her husband, is shocked by London’s shabbiness and horrified at the way the English live. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was. Queenie’s neighbours do not approve her choice of tenants, and neither would her husband, were he there. Through the stories of these people, Small Island explores a point in England’s past when the country began to change.

Over de auteur
In 1948 Andrea Levy’s father sailed from Jamaica to England on the Empire Windrush ship and her mother joined him soon after. She was born in London in 1956, growing up black in what was still a very white England. This experience has given her a complex perspective on the country of her birth.
This was a fascinating story – I haven’t read anything before about the Jamaican immigration to Britain following WWII, and this book was both heartbreaking and almost comical in its story. My heart broke for Gilbert many times in reading about the way he was treated, especially since he was in the RAF and fought for the country. Hortense arriving in the U.K. brought a different light to the story: one that was unique, as she is expecting such a grand and proper country but arrives in one that is still recovering from a war, and in obvious shambles.

She was my favourite character. An issue I had with the book was the initial hopping between 1948 and “before,” – it made everything feel disjointed, especially in the beginning. Then again, I’m not sure there is a better way to tell a story that is based so much on events that happen before the present in the novel. It’s also worth mentioning how wonderful the ending was.

– Makenzie

Verkleuring van de rug en papier