The Long Song

The Long Song

Book - 2010 | 1st American ed.
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Baker & Taylor
A tale inspired by the years on either side of 19th-century Jamaica's emancipation finds the willful slave Miss July moving into her mistress's great house, where she becomes a valuable confidante, learns to read and witnesses the Baptist War. By the Whitbread Book of the Year-winning author of Small Island.

McMillan Palgrave

THE AUTHOR OF SMALL ISLAND TELLS THE STORY OF THE LAST TURBULENT YEARS OF SLAVERY AND THE EARLY YEARS OF FREEDOM IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY JAMAICA

Small Island introduced Andrea Levy to America and was acclaimed as “a triumph” (San Francisco Chronicle). It won both the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, and has sold over a million copies worldwide. With The Long Song, Levy once again reinvents the historical novel.

Told in the irresistibly willful and intimate voice of Miss July, with some editorial assistance from her son, Thomas, The Long Song is at once defiant, funny, and shocking. The child of a field slave on the Amity sugar plantation, July lives with her mother until Mrs. Caroline Mortimer, a recently transplanted English widow, decides to move her into the great house and rename her “Marguerite.”

Resourceful and mischievous, July soon becomes indispensable to her mistress. Together they live through the bloody Baptist war, followed by the violent and chaotic end of slavery. Taught to read and write so that she can help her mistress run the business, July remains bound to the plantation despite her “freedom.” It is the arrival of a young English overseer, Robert Goodwin, that will dramatically change life in the great house for both July and her mistress. Prompted and provoked by her son’s persistent questioning, July’s resilience and heartbreak are gradually revealed in this extraordinarily powerful story of slavery, revolution, freedom, and love.



Baker
& Taylor

A tale inspired by the years before and after nineteenth-century Jamaica's emancipation finds the willful slave Miss July moving into her mistress's great house, where she becomes a valuable confidante, learns to read, and witnesses the Baptist War.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780374192174
0374192170
Characteristics: 313 p. ; 24 cm.

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p
peachmcd
Sep 18, 2018

A marvelous book by an author whose command of multiple languages enables each voice to ring true. Highly recommend this and any book by her.

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 10, 2014

In rich, musical prose Levy tells the story of the quick-witted and courageous July, a mulatto house slave living in 19th century Jamaica before and after the abolition of slavery. Though she has written an entertaining farce, this gifted author takes this turbulent history very seriously and never trivializes the cruelty slavery and its legacy imposed on individuals.

j
John_M
Feb 06, 2014

A wonderful portrait of Jamaca at the end of slavery and the life of slaves at that time. Well worth my time to read it.

m
Mothercat
Jan 14, 2014

Enjoyed this one - a sharp reminder of the brutality and injustices of slavery, engagingly written.

u
uncommonreader
Jul 29, 2012

A book about slavery. The forward and afterward seemed a little artificial but otherwise a good book.

a
azor
Jul 27, 2012

I really liked this book. The voice of the storyteller drew me in and i wanted more.

s
scorpio21
Jun 30, 2011

I enjoyed this story, which is surprising,as I find it difficult to read about cruelty. The Authors choice of Narrator (JULY) is a good one.The interruptions made by July thru out the story to make a comment or to just speak to the reader helped me to continue turning the pages.

e
EmilyEm
May 26, 2011

Like Levy's award-winning book ?Small Island' Jamaica is the setting of this new book. July's son Thomas wants her to write a memoir of her life in the 1840s as slavery was abolished in England and her colonies.

July is a wonderful character, a survivor in a world where cunning and deceit were required to navigate a very uncertain existence. Stylistically Levy's book is a triumph of storytelling and memoir making, taking lives about which very little is known and bringing it to life. No wonder this book was nominated for the Man Booker prize this year. It fulfills on many levels.

t
Truffs
Jan 14, 2011

Interesting format - son editing Mothers writing.
set in slave emancipation era

debwalker Dec 08, 2010

A Jamaican’s enslavement.

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