Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Small Island

A book by Andrea Levy about Britain and Jamaica and the meeting of people from both these small islands in London at the time of the second world war. It talks of relationships, love and war, empire, prejudice, all coming together to give an insight into a time of change.

The stories of the characters are wonderfully wrought and keep the reader interested in their progress in the novel. Incidents are well observed by the author, such as the following recollection of something which happened while a character was away at war:

Maxi had woken us all in the basha in the middle of the night. 'Snake, snake,' he's yelling. Struggling about on his charpoy. 'Big bugger', he's telling us, thrashing this way and that. We're all up, knives, guns at the ready. Snake. Big snake. Maxi going at it like Tarzan to get it out of his bed. The legs of the charpoy collapse. Everything falls on the floor, including Maxi. He screams he's been bitten and runs off to the MO clutching his leg. Leaves us all turning over this, prodding at that. Scared as hell, we all admit, hunting this big snake in the basha. Turns out Maxi fell asleep on his arm. Woke up, grabbed it, felt nothing. Concluded it was a snake. Cut himself on a piece of sharp bamboo in the struggle to throw his own arm out of bed.

Check out the author's website here


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