Reading guide: The Long Song by Andrea Levy
Discover our comprehensive reading guide to Andrea Levy’s novel, set during the turbulent years of slavery and shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2010
Andrea Levy’s bittersweet novel about the last days of slavery in Jamaica is powerful and intimate - and full of mischievous surprise.
Set during the turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed, The Long Song is a thrilling journey through that time in the company of people who lived it. Based on the lives of the people who live and work on the Amity sugar plantation, the narrative centres around July, a slave girl with an indomitable spirit for survival.
Slowly I began to realise that I was not in fact writing a novel about slavery. The Long Song is set in the time of slavery, and the years immediately after, but it is really a story about a person’s life, a lost voice from history that needed to be heard.— Andrea Levy writing on the inspiration behind The Long Song
The Long Song is a novel for those who believe that the story of a single woman is a story of the ages, for those who understand that a slave woman’s history is History, indeed.— Tayari Jones reviewing The Long Song for The Washington Post in 2010
I wanted there to be joy in this book, fun, as well. I had to tread a fine line. It was never going to be ‘Carry On up the Plantation’, but also I didn’t want it to be just so harrowing that nobody could read it. I wanted a book that everyone could read and everyone could enjoy.— Andrea Levy speaks to The Scotsman in 2010 after publication of The Long Song