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Andrea Levy Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Every Light in the House Burnin' (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Never Far From Nowhere (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fruit of the Lemon (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Small Island (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Long Song (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Publication Order of Collections

Six Stories and An Essay (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Sunday Night Book Club(2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
New Daughters of Africa(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Andrea Levy was a historical and literary fiction author from the United Kingdom. The author was born to Jamaican parents in London and came from a background nobody would expect to produce an award-winning and universally lauded novelist.
Levy’s father came to Britain in 1948 on the Empire Windrush and soon enough, he was followed by his wife and their four children.

The family then lived in North London on a council estate, which is where Levy spent much of her childhood, going to the local school and speaking cockney.

She was the typical North Londoner playing hide and seek, skipping and rounders with white kids, watching TV, loving Arsenal, and hating Tottenham Hotspur.

After graduating from high school, she went to Middlesex Polytechnic, where she studied textile design. Thereafter, she worked for the BBC among other places as a costume assistant.

It was while she was in her twenties that she came to realize how serious issues of race were. She was then working on a sex education project and remembers that the organizers of a racism awareness course asked attendees to gather by race.

When Andrea Levy was 23, she began reading extensively having discovered the power of books. It was from books that she started developing ideas of her identity as a black woman. She began to understand where she came from and how she fit in her society.
When Andrea was in her mid-thirties she joined City Lit as a hobby and started taking creative writing classes. Even though she read a lot of books by African American authors, she could not find much written on the black British experience.

It was the recognition of this fact that would result in the setting up of the Saga Prize by Marsha Hunt. Andrea would become a long-time judge of this prize that championed black literary talent born in the United Kingdom.

Soon after graduating from college, she decided to write what she knew and her early novels were about her experiences as a child of black immigrants to Britain.

But it was when she visited Jamaica that she began researching her family heritage and history. It was also this time that she learned about her African, Scottish, and Jewish roots.

While she initially faced resistance from publishers due to the content of her novels having appeal to mostly minorities, she finally achieved success with the 1994 published Every Light in the House Burning.

According to her literary contemporaries, it was Andrea Levy’s astute eye for British Caribbean history and life combined with an often irreverent unflinching and nuanced playfulness that made her novels so readable.
Over the years, she has garnered much critical acclaim as she shed light on the many realities of the Black experience in Britain.

Because of her talent, she has achieved international success. Her works have been read by millions of readers, and some have been adapted for the stage, the Silver Screen, and TV.

She would become one of the best authors in her genre, whose name would live on for decades and even centuries after she was gone.

Andrea died of metastatic cancer in 2019 aged 62 and has been survived by Bill Maybllin her husband who is a graphic designer.

“Small Island” by Andrea Levy is a story that explores the many prejudices that were evident and still exist in post-Second World War Britain.

Flipping back and forth, it tells the story of Hortense and Gilbert, who are two Jamaicas dreaming of immigrating to the United Kingdom.

Hortense sees Brits as the standard of what she needs to become. On the other hand, Gilbert had served in the Royal Air Force during the war in service of his new identity and new home.
He believed it was worth it to risk his life or his adopted country, which he now considered more like home than Jamaica.

On the other hand is Bernard and Queenie, a white husband and wife team who showcase many commonalities and racial divides in Britain.

Bernard had fought in the war but unlike Gilbert, he did not return and Queenie is forced to take in tenants to make ends meet. Most of her tenants are Caribbean immigrants including Gilbert and his wife Hortense.
Queenie who had been brought up as a farmer’s daughter soon makes friends with Hortense and Gilbert. But then Bernard unexpectedly comes back and seeming has a lot of issues of his own to resolve.

Andrea Levy’s “Long Song” is the perfect follow-up to the author’s debut novel. In this work, Andrea takes a closer look at her roots in Jamaica, as she charts the last days of slavery in the Caribbean.

The lead narrator of the story is former slave July, who starts the narration in 1831 when the Baptist revolt was at its height, up to the late 1830s when slavery was finally abolished.

July is in the present an old woman who is living with Thomas her son who she lives with. She tells of her life living on the Amity plantation as a young girl.

July says her father was a white man who was in charge of the plantation and raped her mother which makes her a mulatto. While she was still very young, she had been taken from her mother so that she could become the pet of Caroline Mortimer.
The latter is the foolish and vapid sister of the owner of the plantation who ultimately makes July one of her lady maids.

During this time, Robert Goodwin a new overseer had come to the plantation trumpeting his Christian upbringing and good intentions.

He came seeking to prove to everyone that plantation slavery did not necessarily have to be cruel. But things had turned very fast and he ended up being just as cruel if not more cruel than his predecessors.

“Fruit of the Lemon” by Andrea Levy is the story of Faith Jackson who hardly knows anything about her parents’ lives before they immigrated to Britain.

At the beginning of the novel, she is happy as she could be as she has just gotten a job with the BBC’s costume department. She will be living with friends at a small house but she is full of expectation and hope.

But then her fragile sense of identity is shattered when her parents tell her they will be going back to Jamaica. Perplexed and angry as to why they would move to a place she believed they had left in their past, she started changing her perspectives. She is more attuned to the public and covert racism in her daily life at work and at home.

Her parents suggest that she visits Jamaica so that she can understand her roots better. In Jamaica, she meets Aunt Coral who tells her stories of her ancestors whose lives reach from Scotland to Harlem, Cuba to Panama.

Story by story, branch by branch, Faith learns about her family tree to discover her very vibrant heritage which is far wilder and richer than she could have ever imagined.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Andrea Levy

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