It is 1948, and England is recovering from a war. But at 21 Nevern Street, London, the conflict has only just begun. Queenie Bligh's neighbours do not approve when she agrees to take in Jamaican lodgers, but Queenie doesn't know when her husband will return, or if he will come back at all. 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. It's desperation that makes him remember a wartime friendship with Queenie and knock at her door.
Gilbert's wife Hortense, too, had longed to leave Jamaica and start a better life in England. But when she joins him she is shocked to find London shabby, decrepit, and far from the golden city of her dreams. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was....
'A great read...honest, skilful, thoughtful and important.' ( Guardian)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Dolly on 01-10-15
A breath taking saga.
I loved this audio book. I had chosen the book for my book group so listened to it after I'd read it.
I got so much more from it by doing this.
I was born in 1940 so was just a baby during the war and this was a real eye opener for me.
If ever Andrea Levy tires of writing she could surely earn a living with her talent for narrating!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By Mr on 18-05-16
A lovely easy to follow story
I found this a very enjoyable book to listen to, easy to follow with only a few key characters. The story develops over time in a very elegant way.
The narrator (also the author) was excellent.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Bob Gibson on 09-11-15
Terrific narration, compelling story
I don't generally write reviews, but this performance merits special notice. Andrea Levy, the author of this compelling story, is a first-rate narrator, presenting her several characters and accents with convincing accuracy. The dialogue is natural and engaging, and her Jamaican characters are voiced with the full musicality of their language. A real listening pleasure!
By Lydia on 20-07-15
Fabulous Story with Excellent Narration
Where does Small Island rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Close to the top. The story is captivating.
What did you like best about this story?
I enjoyed the fact that the story is narrated by several different characters, each with a unique, and, at times, quite comical, perspective.
What about Andrea Levy’s performance did you like?
Ms. Levy breathed life into each quirky, fascinating character. She performed different accents extremely well.
If you could rename Small Island, what would you call it?
The Clash Echoes.
Any additional comments?
I strongly recommend this nook.