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Small Island - Andrea Levy

Review, 2004, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Gently bruised at the head of the spine and top corners with the expected associated chafing to the dust wrapper. Leans. Text complete, clean and tight.

From the cover: “It is 1948 in an England that is still shaken by war. At 21 Nevern Street, London, Queenie Bligh takes into her house lodgers who have recently arrived from Jamaica. She feels she has no choice. Her husband, Bernard, whom she married to escape her dreary upbringing on a farm in the Midlands, was posted to India with the RAF during the war, but when the conflict was over he did not return. What else could she do?

Among her tenants are Gilbert and his new wife Hortense. Gilbert Joseph was one of the several thousand Jamaican men who joined the RAF to fight against Hitler. Returning to England after the war he finds himself treated very differently now that he is no longer in a blue uniform. It is desperation that makes him remember a wartime friendship with Queenie and knock at her door.

Hortense shared Gilbert’s dream of leaving Jamaica and coming to England to start a better life — that’s why she married him. But when she at last joins her husband, she 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 of her choice of tenants, and neither would her husband, were he there. England may be recovering from a war but at 21 Nevern Street it has only just begun.

Through the stories of these people, Small Island explores a point in England’s past when the country began to change. In this delicately wrought and profoundly moving novel, Andrea Levy handles the weighty themes of empire, prejudice, war and love, with a lightness of touch and a generosity of spirit that challenge and uplift the reader.”


Size: 8" x 6¼". Black boards with Silver titling to the Spine. Winner of the Orange Fiction 2004 & Whitbread Book of the Year prize. 441 pages.
£8.50

This one has already found a new owner.