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Customer Reviews for

Small Island

Average Rating 4
( 49 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    Great read

    After PBS aired the first half of this story I was left hanging wondering what happened to the characters. Glad I was found this Nook book. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I am a fan of novels that use history as a background. I learn how people lived during those times of war, depression etc. This novel was a great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    History from a unique perspective. I gave it a solid 4, because

    History from a unique perspective. I gave it a solid 4, because it
    offered a glimpse into a slice of postwar (WWII) history from a unique
    perspective - that of Jamaican immigrants in Britain. The voice changes
    between the four main characters: Hortense and her husband Gilbert from
    Jamaica and their white landlord Queenie and her husband, Bernard. The
    Jamaican patois lent an authentic touch, and since the author was born
    in England to Jamaican parents, I wondered if there wasn't a good bit of
    family biography disguised as fiction. The theme of third world
    citizens dreaming of escaping to what they believe will be a grander,
    happier life is not new, and Hortense, well educated for her Jamaican
    community and with high aspirations of teaching in England, certainly
    had dreams that were shattered again and again. Gilbert, who had fought
    valiantly in the RAF during the war, expects to be hailed as a war hero.
    Both encounter unexpected racism and snobbery in 1948 London as they
    compete unsuccessfully with thousands of returning soldiers who are also
    looking for jobs. Queenie deals with loneliness and lust as her dull
    banker husband goes to war and doesn't return when it's over. When he
    finally does show up, he has faced demons of his own in the awful things
    he witnessed, and now he must deal with a wife who not only thought he
    was dead but who is also pregnant. The threads of racism, sexual and
    cultural tension, colonialism, and the deprivations and hardships of war
    are all drawn well. Each of the characters is flawed in his or her own
    way, but as products of their own pasts and circumstances, they were
    portrayed movingly, realistically, and compassionately. One of the most
    poignant aspects of the book -- RAF veteran Gilbert's rejection by
    Londoners after fighting with great devotion for his mother country,
    England -- was described in a review from Publishers Weekly: "When
    Gilbert realizes that his pride in the British Empire is not
    reciprocated, he wonders, 'How come England did not know me?' His
    question haunts the story as it moves back and forth in time and space
    to show how the people of two small islands become inextricably bound together."

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  • Posted July 20, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved the story This is a very sad but true story. Hortense &

    Loved the story
    This is a very sad but true story. Hortense & Gilbert were such believeable characters, they make you laugh and they make you cry! I did not expect the ending, very surprising and came together well. Sad that we treat and judge other human beings by the color of their skin.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    highly recommended

    This was an excellent read it showed how carribean people were treated by a country they thought were their common wealth.

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  • Posted September 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    SMALL ISLAND IS NO SMALL BOOK

    I just finished reading this book. What a great read! The characters were believable and the situations were touching, warm and even hilarious. I would definitely recommend this book. The writer Andrea Levy painted a vivid picture that made you feel as if you were in the middle of it all. Pull up a Big comfortable chair, Big cup of tea, coffee or whatever and go off into an adventure to Small Island. Loved it!

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  • Posted August 10, 2010

    Worth Reading

    This novel is about two married couples, one from Jamaica and one from London before and after WWII. I found it interesting from a historic perspective and the characters were well developed.

    Each person has his/her own story which I found more intriguing than when the characters lives intertwined. I also found the ending a bit diappointing. Overall, however, it is a novel worth reading for the insight into the everyday life of everyday people during extraordinary times.

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    Posted September 26, 2010

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