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Andrea Levy

(b. 1956)


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(1956– ),

novelist, born in London, to Jamaican parents who came to England in 1948 as part of the ‘Windrush generation’ of Caribbean immigrants in the 1940s. Her novels describe the experiences of black Londoners over several generations. Every Light in the House Burnin' (1994), Never Far from Nowhere (1996), and Fruit of the Lemon (1999, an ingeniously constructed first‐person story of roots and genealogy) were followed by widespread recognition for Small Island (2004), a polyphonic novel set largely in 1948, as aspiring schoolmistress Hortense comes from Jamaica to London to seek her husband Gilbert Joseph, a Jamaican airman who is lodging in the boarding house of Queenie, an English farmer's daughter. The story is told through their three distinct voices, evoking the privations of post‐war England, Jamaican disappointment with the mother country, racial prejudice, and efforts at human accommodation. It is remarkable for its confident and even‐handed treatment of male and female, black and white points of view.

Subjects: Literature.


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