Andrea Levy is one of the best storytellers around. Her follow up to Small Island (set in the 1940s and 1950s in both Jamaica and Britain) is set in the smaller of the two islands, Jamaica, and tells the history of slavery's end on the sugar plantations and the years of confusion that followed as slaves and planters made the transition to emancipation. Our unreliable narrator is the feisty Miss July. From the first scene, in which her conception is hastily accomplished through the rape of Kitty, a field slave, by her cruel Scotch overseer, the reader knows that she or he can expect an unblinking look at this period in Jamaican history related through the eyes of a former slave.
Through the continuous feverish imagery of heat, stench, bugs and sugarcane along with a light touch of Jamaican Negro dialect, Ms Levy conjures up the plight of a plantation slave's life. Yet, it is ...
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