Sonntag, 13. März 2011

Andrea Levy: The Long Song

THE LONG SONG (2010) is Andrea Levy's fourth novel - and the second (after SMALL ISLAND) that is translated into German. (I think there are some problems to translate Jamaican slang into German..)

In a (veeery small) nutshell:

Kingston, Jamaica, 1889.
Formerly Miss July was a slave but now she is an old and a free woman. With help of her son, who made a career as a printer, she writes down her memoirs –and that’s what we read in this book.

Well, this might sound not very tempting – but it is quite exciting! It is a captivating read which makes you anxious to know what will happen next to Miss July and all the other characters.

There is no SONG OF THE SOUTH “plantation romance” (no “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah!” here – though I really like that song, because it is so merry..) with happy black people working for a noble white massa. Not so many noble people in this book at all.. I liked that.

To be honest I did not know much about the history of Jamaica – and how the abolition of slavery took place there. I found it quite interesting to find out more about what happened after the slaves were “free”. It surely wasn’t like: “Here, Miss July, take this horse and these juwels – and do you want to have all my dresses? It’s all yours. I am sorry what happened but now we’re friends and you’ll live in a little house on the hills with pink flowers all over the place. So, now let's go in and have some tea and cookies..”

Tough times - and tough people.

Here is the German cover:

The German title is DAS LANGE LIED EINES LEBENS (= a life's long song) and I like the colours of this book very, very much!
I like the English cover above very, very much, too. Somehow it makes me think of my childhood. (No, I did not grew up on a plantation - but there were some very savaged places where I spent a lot of my time..)

This book fits in one of my challenges:

Because this novel is setted into 19. century Jamaica it fits into the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2011.

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