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The long song
Andrea Levy
Adult Fiction LEVY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A distinctive narrative voice and a beguiling plot distinguish Levy's fifth novel (after Orange Prize-winning Small Island). A British writer of Jamaican descent, Levy draws upon history to recall the island's slave rebellion of 1832. The unreliable narrator pretends to be telling the story of a woman called July, born as the result of a rape of a field slave, but it soon becomes obvious that the narrator is July herself. Taken as a house slave when she's eight years old, July is later seduced by the pretentiously moralistic English overseer after he marries the plantation's mistress; his clergyman father has assured him that "a married man might do as he pleases." Related in July's lilting patois, the narrative encompasses scenes of shocking brutality and mass carnage, but also humor, sometimes verging on farce. Levy's satiric eye registers the venomous racism of the white characters and is equally candid in relating the degrees of social snobbery around skin color among the blacks themselves, July included. Slavery destroys the humanity of everyone is Levy's subtext, while the cliffhanger ending suggests (one hopes) a sequel. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Having survived the extremes of brutality and privilege, and now at an advanced age, the former slave named Miss July is compelled to share the story of her life. Her grown son, a well-educated gentleman and a printer by trade, frames the story as he gently informs the reader of Miss July's headstrong ways. Powerless throughout most of her life, Miss July now clearly enjoys the opportunity to embellish-and to edit-her story however she wishes. Born to a Jamaican field slave in the 1820s, she tells heart-wrenching tales from her years on the Amity sugar plantation. As for the British plantation owners, their tendencies toward folly and self-delusion pave the way for the slave revolt known as the Baptist Wars of 1831. Even the best-intentioned whites who come to the island to fight for abolition end up succumbing to the intense Jamaican heat and the madness of the constant struggle for power. Verdict As Levy proved in her Orange Prize-winning Small Island, her particular ability lies in giving voice to her characters. Her fifth novel is a stunning portrait of slavery and resilience that will stay with the reader long after the last page has been turned. Highly recommended for readers of historical fiction. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/10.]-Susanne Wells, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters July
African American
Born to a slave mother and white overseer; promoted to the manor house.

Robert Goodwin
White overseer; falls in love with July.

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