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

Brings a wonderful story to life!

Having borrowed the paperback copy of Small Island from the library, I knew I would enjoy this recording. I was, however, completely unprepared for what a special experience the audio version would be. On paper Andrea Levy writes the words of the Jamaican characters beautifully, and you can hear the music in their voices. But listening them spoken aloud is really wonderful. I do not know anyone from Jamaica, so I cannot say for sure whether the readers have authentic Jamaican accents, but to me they sounded superb. The book really did come to life in a new way with this recording. Small Island has strong likable characters woven into a good story, sprinkled with gentle humour. Not only that, but it makes you think too. I was left feeling that I?d really learnt something about lives different from my own. I found this a funny, interesting, thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable listen.
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- Ailsa

Pity about the noises

For once I really regret buying an audiobook instead of a print copy. An excellent, sensitive story with very well observed characters has been ruined by the addition of extraneous noises.
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- Kathleen

Book Details

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