March 21st, 2020

politics

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earthsea

Small Island, by Andrea Levy

Second pargraph of third chapter:
When you are the child of someone such as he, there are things that are expected that may not be expected of someone of a more lowly persuasion. And so it was with I.
I liked this without being overwhelmed by it. It's a novel of the Windrush period, with flashbacks to the very recent war. Levy gives very believable voices to all of her characters, including the nasty ones (which is a rare skill.) Hortense, one of the two protagonists, has a particular wake-up call, realising that her native Jamaica is seen as a small island by the British, and also coming to realise that England itself is a much smaller place than she had dreamed of. The specific instances of racism experienced by her and her husband are vividly depicted - interesting also that the attitudes of the US forces during the war are portrayed as being much worse. Queenie, her landlady, also navigates the paths of relationships and race in a time when everything is changing. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2019, my top unread book by a woman, my top unread book by a writer of colour and my top unread non-genre fiction book. Next on those piles respectively are The First Men In The Moon, by H.G. Wells; The Giver, by Lois Lowry; Long Song, by Andrea Levy again; and Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens.