Tag Archives: Andrea Levy

The Long Song Pilot Review

Historical fiction is more than just a story based on facts. It has the ability to make the modern person think about where we have come and where we are going.

The new three part miniseries, The Long Song (based on the novel of the same name by the late author Andrea Levy), premiered last night on PBS. July (Tamara Lawrance) was born a slave on the island of Jamaica in the 19th century. She is taken as a child from her mother to work as a personal maid for Caroline Mortimer (Hayley Atwell) and given the new name of Marguerite. Caroline is petty, selfish, and self-serving.

When the slaves start to revolt and talk of freedom, things start to change for both July and Caroline. That change is represented by the new overseer, Robert Goodwin (Jack Lowden).

Like many Americans, I was only taught about slavery within the United States. But I was not entirely aware about slaves that were kept by Brits living and working in Jamaica. I enjoyed the first episode. Caroline is a character that is similar to Scarlett O’Hara (aka, you love to hate her), played to perfection by Atwell. Lawrance is brilliant as July, continually outwitting her mistress. The brief introduction of Robert Goodwin (Lowden) toward the end of the episode is just enough to stir the plot up further, making me at least want to watch the second and third episodes.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Long Song airs on PBS on Sundays at 10PM.

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Small Island Book And Movie Review

World War II was a game changer in multiple ways.

For those who lived in the former British colonies, they hoped that the motherland would provide them with opportunities that they did not have at home.

Some would be sorely disappointed.

Andrea Levy’s novel, Small Island, focuses on four distinct characters, two of whom hope that World War II has opened doors for them.

In 1948, Hortense Joseph leaves Jamaica for London. Her husband, Gilbert, joined the British army and finds that after the war, despite his service, he is considered to be second class due to his skin color. Gilbert’s white landlady, Queenie is living with her father in law while her husband, Bernard is away, fighting for king and country. But when he returns from the war, Bernard is suffering from unresolved issues from the war.

In 2009, Small Island was made into a TV movie starring Naomi Harris as Hortense, David Oyelowo as Gilbert, Ruth Wilson as Queenie and Benedict Cumberbatch as Bernard.

I enjoyed both the book and the television adaptation. It sheds light on a subject that many are unaware of.  While the American civil rights movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s has become mythic in it’s own right, it is less known outside of Britain of the lives of it’s former colonists and their struggle to equality, acceptance and opportunities in the motherland.

I recommend both.

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