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The Long Song [Anglais] [Broché]

Andrea Levy
4.7 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
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Description de l'ouvrage

6 janvier 2011

From the critically acclaimed Andrea Levy, Orange Prize winning author of SMALL ISLAND, comes this breathtaking, hauntingly beautiful, heartbreaking and unputdownable novel, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and longlisted for the Orange Prize.

You do not know me yet. My son Thomas, who is publishing this book, tells me, it is customary at this place in a novel to give the reader a little taste of the story that is held within these pages. As your storyteller, I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed.

July is a slave girl who lives upon a sugar plantation named Amity and it is her life that is the subject of this tale. She was there when the Baptist War raged in 1831, and she was present when slavery was declared no more. My son says I must convey how the story tells also of July's mama Kitty, of the negroes that worked the plantation land, of Caroline Mortimer the white woman who owned the plantation and many more persons besides - far too many for me to list here. But what befalls them all is carefully chronicled upon these pages for you to peruse.

Perhaps, my son suggests, I might write that it is a thrilling journey through that time in the company of people who lived it. All this he wishes me to pen so the reader can decide if this is a novel they might care to consider. Cha, I tell my son, what fuss-fuss. Come, let them just read it for themselves.

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

'THE LONG SONG is is told with irresistible cunning; it is captivating, mischievious and optimistic, generating new stories and plot lines throughout the tale' (Daily Telegraph)

'Bittersweet and mischievous, Levy's keenly awaited new novel is worth the wait for all fans of her SMALL ISLAND' (Daily Mail)

'Slavery is a grim subject indeed, but the wonder of Levy's writing is that she can confront such things and somehow derive deeply life-affirming entertainment from them... Levy's aim, she says, was to write a book that instilled pride in anyone with slave ancestors and THE LONG SONG, though "its load may prove to be unsettling", is surely that book' (Sunday Telegraph)

'This is a terrific book: beautifully written and imagined, and full of surprises' (A. N. Wilson, Reader's Digest)

'As well as being beautifully written THE LONG SONG is a thoroughly researched historical novel that is both powerful and heartbreaking' (Daily Express)

'Thoroughly captivating' (Guardian)

'A novel such as SMALL ISLAND is a hard act to follow, but in her new book Levy has moved into top gear... She dares to write about her subject in an entertaining way without ever trivialising it and THE LONG SONG reads with the sort of ebullient effortlessness that can only be won by hard work' (Observer)

Beautifully written, intricately plotted, humorous and earthy... Those who enjoyed SMALL ISLAND will love THE LONG SONG, not just for the insights on the "wretched island", but as a marvel of luminous storytelling' (Financial Times)

'Levy brings her distinctive lightness of touch to what is otherwise unrelentingly bleak subject matter... This is a beautifully written and cleverly constructed novel that projects convincing personal relationships on to the feral backdrop of the Jamaican plantations' (The Times)

'Levy has a rare ability to channel the maelstrom of history into the most intimate of human dramas' (New Statesman)

'[Levy] has painted a vivid and persuasive portrait of Jamaican slave society, a society that succeeded with bravery, style and strategic patience both to outsmart its oppressors and to plant the seeds of what is today a culture celebrated worldwide' (New York Times)

'A tumultuous tale, superbly evoked' (Woman & Home)

'Levy has slipped through the cracks of history and beautifully animated a subject about which, on a human level, we know depressingly little' (Metro)

'A vivid, sometimes brutal and incredibly absorbing story' (Good Housekeeping)

Biographie de l'auteur

Andrea Levy was born in England to Jamaican parents who came to Britain in 1948. She has lived all her life in London.? After attending writing workshops when she was in her mid-thirties, Levy began to write the novels that she, as a young woman, had always wanted to read - entertaining novels that reflect the experiences of black Britons, which look closely and perceptively at Britain and its changing population and at the intimacies that bind British history with that of the Caribbean.

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 432 pages
  • Editeur : Headline Review (6 janvier 2011)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0755359429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755359424
  • Dimensions du produit: 14,4 x 2,8 x 19,8 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.7 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 23.306 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 the long song 4 février 2011
a great novel, very refreshing in its style for quite a classical topic (slavery)!!! The writer plays with the reader a little bit, and we discover what really happened after a while, a few changes of narrators, and different times. A lot of humour, some crude scenes, but always a lot of tenderness and many emotions. I loved it!!!
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "Ev'ry likkle ting's gonna be awright" Bob Marley 12 septembre 2012
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
J'ai commandé ce livre car je connais un peu la Jamaïque et j'avais envie de lire une histoire qui s'y passe. J'étais vraiment agréablement surprise par l'originalité et le style de l'auteure, plein d'humour et d'ironie sur un sujet très grave. Miss July est un personnage particulièrement attachant qui traverse la période de transition entre l'esclavage et la "liberté".
J'ai apprécié son optimisme et sa force de caractère. Bob Marley en serait fier !!
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4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 in a nutshell 16 avril 2010
Great read, beautifully written the story is engrossing so you cannot put the book down. After Small Island another great book - bravo Madame Levy!!!!
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5  78 commentaires
37 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Horrors of Slavery 21 avril 2010
Par LH422 - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
The horrors of chattel slavery are described in stark relief in Levy's fictional life story of a nineteenth-century Jamaican woman. Miss July, born into slavery, lives through some of Jamaica's most tumultuous events: warfare, emancipation, and the difficult transition to free labor. Miss July has endured more tragedy than most modern readers can comprehend: pulled away from her mother as a child, only to see her mother executed in the wake of a slave rebellion, Miss July's own child is given away. Ultimately Miss July finds herself in love with a dangerous white man. This book brings the horrors and brutality of slavery into full relief. It also shows how slave ownership corrupts slave owners, as we see two Britons become slave masters. This book is an accomplished family epic. It is a novel deep with emotion, and one that recreates a thoroughly believable nineteenth-century Jamaica. This is a world of tremendous violence and exploitation, yet one in which we still see tremendous human tenderness.
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Well Written But Treads Little New Ground 22 août 2010
Par Richard Pittman - Publié sur
Writing a book set on a plantation with the dominant backdrop of slavery is a difficult thing to do. The reason is because this backdrop has been used many times by some brilliant novelists. Levy's challenge was to make something unique. Did she succeed? I think she did to some degree though Long Song certainly suffers by comparison to other novels of its ilk.

Most novels of slavery are set in the American South but this one is set in Jamaica. That's a distinguishing factor but not one that really makes much of a difference. She writes a strong lead character in July who is a "mulatto" who draws the positive attention of the mistress of the plantation. July is basically a good person but certainly, as you would expect, has no love for the white captors nor does she show appreciation that she is "relatviely" well treated. The first half of the book tells of July and how she came to draw the attention of the mistress of the plantation.

In the second half of the book, July has a love affair with the new Plantation Master who tries to be a good, open minded man but ultimately deteriorates into a man who expects the gratitude of the slaves. July loves him and he loves her and they work out an arrangement that satisfies for awhile but predictably ends terribly. The second half of the book focuses on the relationships and the unravelling of their lives on the island. It is much stronger than the first half of the book.

This is a very competently written, well researched story that is a relatively quick read. I recommend it but can't help but compare it to "The Confessions Of Nat Turner", "Beloved", "The Book of Negroes" etc. It doesn't really stand up in comparison to those superior works.

It is on the 2010 Man Booker Prize Long List and I expect it will also make the Short List and has an outside shot at claiming the prize.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Bittersweet Symphony 7 avril 2010
Par Kristen Stewart - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
The Long Song is the first work I've read by Orange Prize recipient Andrea Levy, and it lived up to my expectations. A historical novel set in early 19th century Jamaica, Levy writes from deep research but with liveliness and passion. In telling the life story of a former slave named Miss July, it has a unique and interesting voice that is memorable, at the least. Stylistic quirks of this sort are either a huge boon to a book or a ball and chain, and in The Long Song, it works.

As Miss July writes her memoirs, the reader learns about how the classes and races interacted in the decline and fall of slavery in the British empire, but in a most intimate and person way. Though Miss July faced unimaginable suffering, her fearless, humorous spirit brings a sense of levity to the story. And yet, she is not such a clown that her heartbreaking losses do not impact the reader. It is a good balance for a book readers will enjoy and relate to, and not just read out of a duty to understand slavery.

If you are looking for an intelligent, page turner to read on the beach or in the gym, I'd commend The Long Song to you. As for me, I'll be adding The Small Island, Levy's award-winning novel, to my reading list and looking forward to more from this promising author.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "There are [other] books to satisfy if words flowing free as the droppings falling from the backside of a mule is your desire." 4 mai 2010
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur
The feisty Jamaican speaker of this novel is writing her life story for her son Thomas, who grew up away from "home" and became educated and trained as a printer in England. July wants him to understand the story of her life-her slavery in Jamaica-and in this way know her and their heritage better. What follows is a family history tied to Amity Plantation, where July, the mulatto daughter of a slave and a Scottish overseer, has lived with her mother. In the 1820s, July, still a child, attracts the interest of Caroline Mortimer, the sister of the owner of Amity, and she decides to train July as her maid. July grows and eventually learns to manipulate the self-centered Caroline, but Caroline becomes even more autocratic, resembling the plantation owners.

It is not until Christmas, 1831, that Jamaica's Great Slave Rebellion takes place, affecting even Amity, and changing the face of the entire country. Some fields and plantations are burned. Whites, especially preachers who have opposed slavery, are tarred and feathered by other whites. With his own loyalties in question, John Howarth unexpectedly cedes control of the plantation to the tempestuous Caroline. Slavery officially ends on July 31, 1838, and July's narrative becomes less the story of slavery in general and more the personal story of July as an adult--free, but dependent--as she uses her beauty and talents for her own ends. The workers no longer accept the plantation's demands, and full-scale rebellion by the freemen is inevitable.

Andrea Levy is a masterful writer, with a sense of drama, the ability to use it to create a lively narrative, and a fine eye for detail. Her subject of slavery, by its very nature, achieves power with very little embellishment, her characters elicit both sympathy and fury, and the novel moves quickly. Though many readers will find it a non-stop read, others may become impatient with the fact that, despite its unusual setting, it highlights injustices and atrocities similar to those in many other historical novels about slavery and plantation life. July, as the main character, is lively and intriguing, but she is not always able to keep the narrative feeling fresh and "new."

There are also problems with point of view. When Caroline first arrives, the narrator tells us what Caroline is seeing, feeling, and thinking, though July could not know that. When July's son Thomas makes suggestions regarding the finished narrative and suggests that July fill in missing information, she is sometimes frivolous and invents "facts." At other times, Levy herself fills in the blanks, in one case having Thomas's own (necessary) history included as the "excerpt" from a story "written" by his adoptive mother and published in a Baptist pamphlet in England, a device that feels like a device. The novel is well-researched, with dialogue which conveys all the emotions one would expect of conflicted characters, and ultimately, THE LONG SONG offers a view of Jamaican history which Levy's fans will celebrate. Mary Whipple

Small Island: A Novel
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "Nimble truth-tripping" by Miss July 19 août 2010
Par M. Feldman - Publié sur
"The Long Song," Andrea Levy's novel about 19th century Jamaica's slaves and the tenuous freedom they achieved after emancipation in 1838, has a difficult task: to make a reader see anew the conditions of slavery, conditions which have been at the center of novels from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Toni Morrison. She succeeds. Part of the reason is because of the setting. Levy vividly depicts the sugar cane plantations run by British masters and overseers, as well as the patchwork of fragile little businesses run by former slaves in the aftermath of emancipation. There is a wonderful scene in which the master of Amity Plantation, where most of the novel takes place, presides over a Christmas dinner for fellow planters, with heavy, traditional dishes from home dished up by perspiring slaves.

The real reason the novel succeeds, however, is because of its narrator, the mulatto house slave July, who writes down her story at the prompting of her prosperous son Thomas. She is often an unreliable narrator, too, glossing over parts too painful to recall until prodded by Thomas to tell the truth. Like many an elderly storyteller, she jumps ahead, meanders, or backtracks, and even moves into the present to complain about her daughter-in-law's cooking.

The story that emerges is a powerful one, and since it is told entirely from July's perspective, there is little sympathy for the white masters and mistresses, like the "fatty-batty" Caroline Mortimer, who takes a shine to young July and renames her "Marguerite," thereby lifting her into the relatively privileged stratum of the house slave but simultaneously separating her from Kitty, the mother who loves her. Most of the white characters are so unsympathetic and one-dimensional (selfish, stupid, demanding, greedy, self-pitying) that they are like characters out of a Dickens novel. It is the slaves, in July's telling, whose lives are complex.

"The Long Song" is also a novel about the perception of beauty. July's mother was raped by Tam Dewar, the white overseer. The whiteness he bequeaths his unacknowledged daughter is, sometimes, the only "possession" she has, although it also brings sorrow. The relationship between July and the overseer, then master, Robert Goodwin, who becomes obsessed by her, begins with her attempt to learn more about the "Scotch man" whom she has elevated, in her mind, to the position of an absent but caring white father. Throughout the novel, the premium the slaves place on light skin color parodies the white preoccupation with racial categories.

The Long Song is on this year's Man Booker longlist. It is in very good company with two other fine historical novels, Peter Carey's "Parrott and Olivier" and David Mitchell's "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I would hate to have to choose.
M. Feldman
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