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The Long Song by Andrea Levy

posted Jan 10, 2014, 8:21 AM by lf lf   [ updated Feb 24, 2014, 2:01 AM ]


The Long Song is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of its abolition. It is at once, defiant, funny and shocking. The story is told by elderly former slave July, with the assistance of her son Thomas, who prompts her to tell her tale. July is the child of a field slave on the sugar plantation of Amity. She lives with her mother until the English plantation owner, Mrs Caroline Mortimer, decides to move her into the big house and rename her Marguerite. The resourceful and mischievous July soon becomes indispensible to her mistress; together they live through the Baptist War of 1831 and the chaotic end of slavery. July is taught to read and write, so that she can help her mistress run the business and, despite gaining her freedom, she remains bound to the plantation. However it is the arrival of Robert Goodwin, the young English overseer that dramatically changes the life of both July and her mistress. The Long Song is the story of July’s resilience and heartbreak and a powerful story of slavery, revolution, freedom and love.      

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