Small Island

  • by Andrea Levy
  • Narrated by Hugh Bonneville, Sandra Duncan, Sandra James-Young, Eddie Nestor
  • 6 hrs and 14 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Queenie Bligh's neighbours do not approve when she agrees to take in Jamaican lodgers, but Queenie doesn't know when, or if, her husband, posted to India during the war, will return. What else can she do? Gilbert Joseph was one of the several thousand Jamaican men who joined the RAF to fight against Hitler. Returning to England as a civilian, he finds himself treated very differently. Gilbert's wife, Hortense, too, had longed to find a better life in England. But when she joins him, she is shocked that London is far from the golden city of her dreams. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was. Through the stories of these characters, Small Island explores a point in England's past when the country began to change. Andrea Levy handles the weighty themes of empire, prejudice, war, and love, with a superb lightness of touch and generosity of spirit.

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What the Critics Say



Commonwealth Writers' Prize Winner, 2005
Orange Prize for Fiction Winner, Best of the Best, 2005
"Every scene is rich in implication, entrancing and disturbing at the same time; the literary equivalent of a switch-back ride." (The Sunday Times)
"What makes Levy's writing so appealing is her even-handedness....The writing is rigorous and the bittersweet ending, with its unexpected twist, touching." (Independent on Sunday)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Abridgment makes the story incomprehensible

I love Andrea Levy as a writer. I also love the performance of most of the narrators in this story, though some accents made it a little hard to make out the words. However after about an hour of listening the story started to make less and less sense.

I opened the Kindle copy of the book and discovered that apparently abridgment means that the narrators read every other line. Characters disappear from a scene without any warning, new chapters start without pause, engagements happen without mention. I got so lost, I stopped listening and kept reading.

It is a beautiful, well-written book, that has been complete mangled in this Audio edition. If you can read, read the book. If you can't, wait for an unabridged version or have a friend read it to you. It is well worth the wait and/or effort. I think Andrea Levy is one of the most talented UK novelists writing right now.
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- Karin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-24-2006
  • Publisher: Headline Audiobooks