Review of Small Island
Small Island tells the intertwining stories of Gilbert Joseph - A Jamaican man who signs up to the RAF to fight for the British commonwealth, his wife, Hortense, Queeny Bligh - the landlady who takes in Gilbert and Hortense and her husband Bernard, who is fighting with the RAF on the Indian front. The story covers Hortense and Queenie's very different upbringings in Jamaica and England respectively. Gilbert and Bernard's experiences of life in the RAF during World War II, and their subsequent life together in London.
Small Island is written by Andrea Levy, an English author with Jamaican Parents and won the Whitbread Novel Award and Orange Prize for Fiction (Best of the Best) in 2005. The book is well researched and transports the reader to 1940's Jamaica, England and India with different chapters being narrated by the four very different personalities of the main characters. Whilst hilariously funny in places, Small Island also tackles weighty issues such as the difficulties experienced by West Indians settling in England after having risked their lives fighting in a war for a seemingly ungrateful mother country.
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