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The Long Song

The Long Song By Andrea Levy The Long Song Man Booker Prize Nominee 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

  • Title: The Long Song
  • Author: Andrea Levy
  • ISBN: 9780374192174
  • Page: 245
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Long Song By Andrea Levy Man Booker Prize Nominee 2010 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 thMan Booker Prize Nominee 2010 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 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 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.
    The Long Song By Andrea Levy

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    The Long Song

    One thought on “The Long Song

    1. Bookdragon Sean on said:

      The Long Song is a deeply moving story, but it s not what is said that is most effective Indeed, it s about what isn t said that is the most powerful and intensely thought provoking aspect of the book The story begins with an aged mother July narrating her story to her son He then, in turn, is writing the book we have before us So everything she says comes through him on the page Although, we presume, he sticks relatively close to her narrative, it is filtered through him He wouldn t change the [...]

    2. Paul on said:

      4.25 starsFollowing on from Small Island this is another historical novel and this time Levy looks at her Jamaican roots charting the last days of slavery on the island It is narrated by July, a former slave, and starts about 1831 the time of what was known as the Baptist revolt and goes to the end of slavery in the late 1830s July is telling her story in old age whilst she is living with her son Thomas The novel is the story of her early life on a plantation called Amity Although narrated by Ju [...]

    3. Chrissie on said:

      This was a huge disappointment to me I found the depiction of the black Jamaican slaves positively insulting Their plight and their path toward freedom is a central theme, but they need not be presented so degradingly The writing is wordy and convoluted Get to the point I do not want to wade through all these words to get the gist of the story.The characters, they were all very unappealing Not just unappealing, downright despicable Whites and blacks alike If you are looking for a smidgen of humo [...]

    4. David Williams on said:

      I came to The Long Song having thoroughly enjoyed Andrea Levy s Small Island My expectations were high, and she did not merely match but exceed them Her secret is in finding the right voice for the story, and in the female slave July she found someone to conduct us through the years of slavery and so called freedom for the blacks in Jamaica with just the right amount of irreverence to deny her victim status, and an instinctive native wit to counterbalance the misery, or rather to give it a very [...]

    5. Gemma on said:

      I have to start by saying Andrea Levy is one of my favourite authors Her writing is always so beautiful and I wasn t surprised to learn that The Long Song was.a Man Booker finalist in 2010 July is a slave born on a sugar cane plantation in Jamaica and it is July who leads us through life as a slave on the plantation July sure is an interesting character Completely unreliable from the start, witty, brattish and speaks her mind I couldn t decide if I liked her or not from page to page but she tell [...]

    6. Derek on said:

      This is so deep, so sad, so harrowing, despite its playful undertone The book s strength doesn t rest solely on the narrator s skill she wavers between reliable and unreliable narrator but on the diversity of the characters written about Amity, the sugarcane farm upon which this dark tale is based, seems a simple, run of the mill kind of set up, and it s owners, and slaves seem simple enough folk, but their story carries a lot of depth, especially right around the time when slavery is abolished [...]

    7. James on said:

      The Long Song is one of those fiction books that provides a clearer picture of a particular historical era then any history book In this case the time is the last years of slavery in Jamaica and the story unfolds from the viewpoint of a child born into slavery who lives through the end of slavery Without wishing to give too much of the story away there is one particular scene which was agonizing The child July and her mother are walking towards the fields when the plantation owner and his sister [...]

    8. Sally Whitehead on said:

      With a keen interest in the writing of Caribbean women, and the female perspective of slavery, I d been meaning to read Andrea Levy for a long time Given my personal interests her fifth novel The Long Song seemed like a good place to start Yet despite being an engaging, well crafted read in the end I was somehow left wanting Our somewhat unreliable narrator Miss July, herself a 19th century Jamaican slave now free to tell her story with the editorial assistance of her once estranged son Thomas, [...]

    9. Cheryl on said:

      I liked the mother daughter story about two women who grow up as slaves, and the cruel things they had to endure In fact the first scene with Kitty, is what really drew me to the book Later, Kitty s daughter, July the main character is introduced, along with Caroline her mistress The use of dialect added just enough spice to the book Part of the book also captures the Emancipation Proclamation a nicely added twist.Partway through though, things get confusing with the introduction of too many cha [...]

    10. Aifos on said:

      Despite hating the main character, July, as I think she was a spoiled brat who didn t appreciate what was given to her, I couldn t help but feel pity towards her She did lead a hard life, as her choices were taken away from her even before she was born although some of the choices she could make where not the best ones But one must not judge, specially if never having been through a similar situation.The saddest thing is to think that this story happened in the 19th century, in Jamaica, during t [...]

    11. Ami on said:

      The Long Song is a story about a woman named July, who writes a memoir about her life in Jamaica during its 19th century slave era She is taken from her mother Kitty at the age of 9 by the request of the plantation owner s sister Caroline Mortimer July s position at the main house on Amity Plantation as Caroline s personal maid was full of hard work her lessons learned during the early years were just as difficult, despite her escaping the laborious work and abuse associated with the sugar cane [...]

    12. Tayari Jones on said:

      Levy s previous novel, Small Island, is rightly regarded as a masterpiece, and with The Long Song she has returned to the level of storytelling that earned her the Orange Prize in 2004 Her heroine narrates the beginning of the end of slavery in Jamaica, coming to a climax with the 1831 Baptist War, when enslaved men and women fought their enslavers for 10 days It s clear that Levy has done her research, but this work never intrudes upon the narrative, which travels at a jaunty pace Levy s sly hu [...]

    13. Lubna on said:

      I like this very very much Perfectly portrays how black people suffered and how, after the years of slavery, they maintained their new lifestyle It s very nicely written and the text is very emotional, Andrea Levy did a great job with it she conveyed the message and delivered it in a very nice and sensual way that i appreciate very very much

    14. Kate on said:

      From the first few pages, I knew I was going to get along well with both the book and with the protagonist and narrator, July It has been a while since I have read a voice so vivid, so compelling, so funny but with such serious stories to tell.As slavery comes to an end in Jamaica after an inconceivable 300 years, we learn about the life and times of July House slave on a sugar plantation with a fat and useless mistress, July overcomes a painful separation from her formidable field slave mother, [...]

    15. Richard Derus on said:

      Rating 2.875 of fiveWhat am I missing here This is a perfectly good novel, and the character of Miss July is well drawn, the story of Jamaica is interesting, but How Where It s all rather one note cuteness from my POV The narrative drive is that these are the memories of Miss July So that takes any suspense out of the book I know she s alive to tell the tale, so who cares who else dies I wonder if I should read Small Island now I would hate to take another tepid bath in the Jamaican waters I don [...]

    16. Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page) on said:

      Unfortunately, I feel as though this book just went over my head It was certainly different to anything else that I ve ever read because of the writing style and I did enjoy how the writer engaged with the reader, but it didn t pull me in enough I wasn t intrigued and I never had a desire to read on I didn t completely absorb the story as I found the writing to be quite confusing at times and because I couldn t properly concentrate, I didn t enjoy what I was actually absorbing That said, I could [...]

    17. Melinda Elizabeth on said:

      I am, and you all must be as well, sick of having to write reviews that are mainly negative I enjoy reading and is it too much to ask for a book that delievers enjoyment Alas.Anyways, The Long Song had an interesting story Actually I ll change that, it had the potential to be a very good story Unfortunately the nattative of July and her son just wasn t up to scratch The interjections throughout the book, whilst I assume they were there to guide the reader through a fairly lacklustre story, just [...]

    18. Sue on said:

      I listened to the unabridged audio version of this book It ran to 11 hours 20 mins and was narrated by the author and Adrian Lester The story is set in Jamaica towards the end of slavery and follows the life of Miss July aka Marguerite who is born into slavery on a sugar plantation Through this timeline we are given an account of the events leading to the end of slavery in Jamaica.I enjoyed Andrea Levy s narration and found the story of July s early life very interesting However, I felt that the [...]

    19. Amy on said:

      A Frances Coady BookA few years ago I spent an entire year focused on titles relating to slavery and civil rights in the South the Civil War to the Civil Rights marches in the 1960 s It was a painful topic, and revealed bottomless ugliness about the way humans treat each other, especially when in a position of power When I decided to read The Long Song, about slavery in Jamaica in the early 1800 s, I wasn t sure if the geographical difference would change any of the perspective It does.Levy s no [...]

    20. Ari on said:

      I m not sure if it s just me, but I ve never liked reading about slavery Even if it s a great literary masterpiece, I have to work my way up to it This one intrigued me because I had read reviews that described it as humorous A book with slavery that was humorous Hmm I m glad I took a chance and read it It s not laugh out loud funny but there is a dark sense of humor that runs throughout the book Readers will smile or smirk at the quiet acts of rebellion slaves engaged in Ranging from spitting i [...]

    21. Kiwiflora on said:

      Andrea Levy centres her novel on a dark chapter in British history the last years of a 300 year history of slavery in Jamaica In the first quarter of the 19th century, July is born to Kitty, a field slave on the Amity plantation Her father is the brutal white overseer, so July is a mulatto Not that this makes her life any easier, but purely by chance she is literally taken from her mother s arms and ends up as a house slave living in the big house as the personal maid to Caroline Mortimer, siste [...]

    22. Mark on said:

      The mistake I made with this one initially was trying to read it in small doses July, a former slave, was the narrator and i found that i had to get into her style of speaking and reflecting so as to move along with the plot otherwise I found myself getting frustrated It is a book which is difficult to read as it really brings home the brutal nature of the slave trade not so much by piling on the physical brutality, though there are some passages dealing with this but much by the horribly casua [...]

    23. Ernestine on said:

      I am enjoying this book It is set in the same time as the Book of Night Women but it does not take itself as seriously as Night Women The people are very down to earth The Europeans are very human and the enslaved Africans are rational I do not have a feel for how real the reactions of the enslaved are given their life experiences at the time, but I would like to think that the Long Song gives a good picture As in Night Women it was attractive to have a white man as a lover in the hopes that you [...]

    24. Chris on said:

      Stories are important and the art of story telling a fine skill I love Ms Levy s The Long Song even though it pained my heart Ms Levy writes in a straight forward non apologetic way that has emotional strength but limited sentimentality She uses the narrator, Miss July, to give us the real feel of a story told in the kitchen or drawing room after dinner It is an important story to read for it probably has identical unheard twins in non fiction We cannot forget the slavery past, especially on sma [...]

    25. Shovelmonkey1 on said:

      I sent this book to ApoloniaX for a birthday gift then decided i wanted my own copy I ve never read anything by Levy before and I picked this book because it deals with a fictional first hand account of slavery just prior to the abolition I ve read several books in this vein now and I have to say apologies to all ardent Levy fans in advance that this was the one which I found to be the least conpelling Anyway below are a list of books, both fiction and non fiction which I would recommend for any [...]

    26. Tara Chevrestt on said:

      I know it is probably totally taboo for anyone not to love this book, but I didn t care for it There are two reasons why I didn t dig it One The narration Everytime I picked this book up after putting it down, I had to re orient myself all over again The narrator is July, a former slave from a Jamaiican plantation She speaks of herself in third person as she is telling the tale and then suddenly switches over to first person and literally addresses the reader as tho she is speaking directly to y [...]

    27. Beata Bowen on said:

      Slacking on my updates, I didn t review this book when I actually read it few months ago Now my review wouldn t do it justice I just remember that I really enjoyed the story, the strong female characters and the historical background of Jamaica Top notch writing Funny and sad at the same time Lovely.

    28. TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez on said:

      The tale herein is all my mama s endeavor.So says Thomas Kinsman, a Jamaican publisher, who learned his trade in Britain after his mother abandoned him, newborn, on the doorstep of a Baptist missionary Thomas intends to publish his mother s book a memoir very nicely bound, complete with sugar cane on the cover However, he and his mother, an octogenarian Jamaican woman named July, who was once a slave on the Amity Plantation, definitely do not see eye to eye Thomas tells us in his Introduction, A [...]

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