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Small island
Andrea Levy
Adult Fiction LEVY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

After winning the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, Levy's captivating fourth novel sweeps into a U.S. edition with much-deserved literary fanfare. Set mainly in the British Empire of 1948, this story of emigration, loss and love follows four characters two Jamaicans and two Britons as they struggle to find peace in postwar England. After serving in the RAF, Jamaican Gilbert Joseph finds life in his native country has become too small for him. But in order to return to England, he must marry Hortense Roberts she's got enough money for his passage and then set up house for them in London. The pair move in with Queenie Bligh, whose husband, Bernard, hasn't returned from his wartime post in India. But when does Bernard turn up, he is not pleased to find black immigrants living in his house. This deceptively simple plot poises the characters over a yawning abyss of colonialism, racism, war and the everyday pain that people inflict on one another. Levy allows readers to see events from each of the four character's' point of view, lightly demonstrating both the subjectivity of truth and the rationalizing lies that people tell themselves when they are doing wrong. None of the characters is perfectly sympathetic, but all are achingly human. When Gilbert realizes that his pride in the British Empire is not reciprocated, he wonders, "How come England did not know me?" His question haunts the story as it moves back and forth in time and space to show how the people of two small islands become inextricably bound together. Agent, David Grossman. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Gilbert Joseph
Male
Jamaican
Served in the RAF; expected to come home a hero but finds himself to be only second class because of his color; marries a woman with enough money to a passage to England; when he gets to England with his new wife they move in with a British family.

Hortense Joseph
Female
Jamaican
Travels with her husband to England to start a new life.

Queenie
Female
British
Takes in the Joseph family; befriends them and helps them out.

Bernard
Male
When he returns from his wartime post in India he finds black immigrants living in his house.
Banker



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