Winner of the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction A Picador Original Trade PaperbackHortense Joseph arrives in London from Jamaica in 1948 with her life in her suitcase, her heart broken, her resolve intact. Her husband, Gilbert Joseph, returns from the war expecting to be received as a hero, but finds... show more
Winner of the 2004 Orange Prize for Fiction
A Picador Original Trade Paperback
Hortense Joseph arrives in London from Jamaica in 1948 with her life in her suitcase, her heart broken, her resolve intact. Her husband, Gilbert Joseph, returns from the war expecting to be received as a hero, but finds his status as a black man in Britain to be second class. His white landlady, Queenie, raised as a farmer's daughter, befriends Gilbert, and later Hortense, with innocence and courage, until the unexpected arrival of her husband, Bernard, who returns from combat with issues of his own to resolve.
Told in these four voices, Small Island is a courageous novel of tender emotion and sparkling wit, of crossings taken and passages lost, of shattering compassion and of reckless optimism in the face of insurmountable barriers---in short, an encapsulation of that most American of experiences: the immigrant's life.
Publish date: April 1st 2005
Pages no: 441
Edition language: English
, European Literature
, British Literature
, Book Club
, Historical Fiction
, Literary Fiction
, World War II
I know quite a bit about the war years (~1915-50) in Britain, but I learned more reading this book that covers the experience of Jamaican British immigrants and soldiers during and after WWII. The most surprising historical information I got was how Britain coped with Yankee soldiers expecting Brits...
Small Island is a good, solid book in nearly every way, although for me it didn’t have that something extra that would take it up to 5 stars.The frame story is set in London, 1948: a black Jamaican couple, Hortense and Gilbert, move to England and rent a room from a white woman, Queenie, whose husba...
i'm ashamed to say that i abandoned this book because of another and i still can't understand why. it was truly interesting, i was reading it eagerly, then somehow i opened another book and haven't came back. such a fickle reader am i. i've extended the borrowing time once so going back to the libra...
This is a great book which tells the story of Jamaican immigrants to Britain after WW2. It takes a while to get into as the story is told from the point of view of different characters but once the book gets going the plot takes different turns and each of the main characters is developed excellent...
“Yes sir, British, and so is your mother?” he mumbled, in a hesitant way that made me wonder whether anything I was saying was going into his head or merely circling around it searching for somewhere solid to land." p 157
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