Monday, June 09, 2008

RAFBN-Week 4


I know a rabid Obama fan who nonetheless comments that Barack's story is more a "downtrodden immigrant makes good" saga rather than the pyramid-crown of the African American experience (from slavery, through Jim Crow and oppression, etc.) Smarter folk and writers than I have opined that this makes something so outworldly as his candidacy palatable for Joe and Josephine Whiteperson. Perhaps Andrea Levy offers some commonality, if not co-sanguintity, in my RAFBN summer series choice for you, Small Island (published in the US by Picador). The solution involves pain, as does any growth, and we all know white folks are pain adverse when it comes to our Original Sin. But let's try it. First person narrative is eminates from the lips of three main characters; the story paces you through Jamaican immigration to England during and after World War Two. Meaningful for me, given my own heritage, and will resonated for any other person having some blood orginating in de islands, dem. Levy even gives us a sneak peak at well, herself, in the person of an unborn mixed race baby in the womb of one her principal narrators, a white boarding house landlady named Queenie. The human heart really isn't much different or weaker or stronger, whether beating in the lush yet improverished hills of Jamaica or the grim brick tenements of London, barely repaired years after the German Blitz of 1940-41 or the V-2 rocket attacks of 1944. Indeed, Levy's thesis is packed into the the title. Small island. Which one? Both, actually. This is a 2004 Whitbread Award winner and a bestseller in England, Canada and the Caribbean. Would love to see more books by American women of color...sorry "colour" ...like this one showcased, but alas...um...er...you know the story, you snobs, you elitists!!!
Read and learn. Small Island, by Andrea Levy.

7 comments:

Nabila J said...

I read it and Fruit of the Lemon. I second your endorsement as a summer read.

Pebbles Flintstone said...

Nat,
I read this book and Fruit of the Lemon. Both fantastic and thoughtful works. I too have family that came to the states from the Caribbean via London, so this book and Fruit of the Lemon resonate for me. I know that Ms. Levy has other stories out there, and I intend to read some more of her works. Good pick!

Anonymous said...

If/when Ms. Levy comes to the states, I would love to attend one of her readings.

Youngstarr said...

No room for her at Borders. The authors of Ghetto Bitches III or the Jesus, Teach my Black Ass to Stop Eating are on tour. I knew exactly where you were going with that last reference so I thought I would finish your thought!

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

good choice

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I enjoyed her book Fruit of the Lemon. I'll ask a friend to send Small Island to me or will pick up a copy when I fly back to the States for a visit.

Lola Gets said...

Ok, I ordered these books at my public library, so they better be good, people!
:)

And I finally finished my series, Christopher, so come on by and check it out!

L