“Levy’s handling of slavery is characteristically authentic, resonant and imaginative. She never sermonises. She doesn’t need to – the events and characters speak loud and clear for themselves… 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.”
The Sunday Telegraph
“The Long Song is a thoroughly captivating novel… As well as being beautifully written The Long Song is a thoroughly researched historical novel that is both powerful and heartbreaking.”
“Exceptionally good … Levy has slipped through the cracks of history and beautifully animated a subject about which, on a human level, we know depressingly little.”
“A well-researched book that wears its scholarship lightly… An immensely readable and well-paced book.”
“July's story, ... gallops along, full of humour and incident, linguistically fleet of foot and by turns illuminating and heartbreaking. As a document of the end of slavery, The Long Song proclaims its own incompleteness and partiality; but as a story of suffering, indomitability and perseverance, it is thoroughly captivating.”
“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.”
“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.”
The Financial Times
“The Long Song is told with irresistible cunning; it is captivating, mischievous and optimistic, generating new stories and plot lines throughout the tale.”
The Daily Telegraph
“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.”
“With [July’s] fresh, pugnacious voice, Levy has us in her thrall . . . . Levy, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants who grew up in working-class North London, addresses racism at its ugliest and most virulent in this intricately imagined novel, creating a world in which little can flourish. The wonder is the spirit of indomitable dignity with which she manages to infuse her tragic tale.”
San Francisco Chronicle
Andrea Levy's insightful and inspired fifth novel, "The Long Song," reminds us that she is one of the best historical novelists of her generation… Levy's previous novel, "Small Island," is rightly regarded as a masterpiece, and with "The Long Song" she has returned to the level of storytelling that earned her the Orange Prize in 2004.
The Washington Post
“When you add Levy’s almost Dickensian gifts for dialogue and storytelling to her humorous detachment, her ability to see race hatred as yet another twist of the English class system, its easy to see why she has become something of a celebrity in England . . . Levy’s novelistic defense against evil and injustice is her humane sense of comedy. In The Long Song she 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.”
The New York Times
“This is a terrific book: beautifully written and imagined, and full of surprises… A brilliant historical novel.”
A. N. Wilson, Reader’s Digest
“As engrossing as Levy’s Small Island, it will grip you from the very first page.”
“Told with humour, defiance and candour; it may shock, but it’ll ultimately warm your heart.”
“A tumultuous tale, superbly evoked… Don’t miss.”
Woman & Home
“a vivid, sometimes brutal and incredibly absorbing story”
“a heartbreaking but addictive read.”
...and for the audio version
"If all novelists could read their books as brilliantly as Levy, there'd be slim pickings for professional actors."
'A work of great imaginative power which ranks alongside Sam Selvon's The Lonely Londoners, George Lamming's The Emigrants, and Caryl Phillips' The Final Passage in dealing with the experience of migration. I hope that this novel will get the critical attention it deserves'
Linton Kwesi Johnson
'I enjoyed Small Island enormously. A wonderful insight into a little understood period'
'I loved your novel and hope it does as well as it deserves to. You are right to be proud of it'
‘Small Island is a great read, delivering the sort of pleasure which has been the stock-in-trade of a long line of English novelists. It’s honest, skilful, thoughtful and important. This is Andrea Levy’s big book.’
‘It’s an engrossing read – slyly funny, passionately angry and wholly involving.’
The Daily Mail
‘Small Island is never less than finely-written, delicately and often comically observed, and impressively rich in detail and little nuggets of stories.’
The Evening Standard
‘Andrea Levy has written one of those rare fictions that tells you things you didn’t know but feel you should have known.’
The Sunday Herald, Scotland
‘Andrea Levy gives us a new urgent take on our past.’
‘Levy has a superb ear for dialogue that captures the nuances and quirks of speech and achieves the remarkable feat of both distilling and bringing into sharp relief the weighty themes of race, war, colonialism, migration and love.’
The New Zealand Herald
‘Small Island is a triumph of poise, organisation and deep, deep character - the sort of work that can only be achieved by an experienced novelist, comfortable with her powers and confident in her technique. Ugliness and struggle, humour and forbearance, this is the myriad-voiced sound of a nation in transformation.’
The Age, Australia
'Levy as a gift for voices (a north London working class man or a drunken voodoo-loving auntie all come to life when they speak)...a thoughtful comment of racism and the importance of knowing where you are from'
The Sunday Times
'Andrea Levy's third novel is easily her most powerful…from the first page you're caught up'
'There is great skill in the way she presents characters and dialogue; she has powers of observation and an ear for language that makes her books a pleasure to read. Characters come firmly before politics - her agenda, while clear, arises naturally out of personality and incident. While unflinchingly unsentimental, her writing is leavened with humour and warmth... entertaining and revelatory'
TLS (Times Literary Supplement)
'I greatly enjoyed it... I liked the combination of sharp observation and witty asides... it raced along, always entertaining but more than that - the underlying bewilderment and sometimes distress made it something else'
'Immensely readable, this book is a book for anyone who has ever wondered a wandered. A must for all'
'Reinforces Levy's reputation as an astute observer of modern British life. At a time when the question of race has never been higher on the political agenda, Levy's authoritative depiction of the lives of her generation assumes a wider significance...these fine fictional despatches are a valuable contribution to the on-going national debate'
'Exceptional...a beautifully rendered family history that had the power to make me laugh out loud one minute and then make my eyes well up the next. This book will surely gain her recognition as one the UK's biggest talents. Her eye for detail, her humanity and her compassion make this book and pleasure to recommend'
Peter Longcake, Bookseller
'(A) heart-warming and entertaining account of a lively and colourful family history'
Good Book Guide
'An English take on eh kind of picaresque feminist narratives of American writers such as Alice Walker. Andrea Levy... is perfectly able to hold her own in such company…By turns gritty, moving and humorous'
'Levy is no polemicist; she doesn't need to be. She describes the different societies of England and Jamaica with equal measures of affection and criticism, resisting the temptation to put them in some sort of opposition to each other...She has understood that to move forwards you have to know where you've come from'
'(Levy is) an ironic comedian whose subtle, intelligent novel steers well clear of whimsy. Funny and moving'
'Always refreshingly undogmatic...(readers) will recognise the truthfulness of the world which Andrea Levy describes'
'Never far from nowhere is as much about the painful, messy reality of
family life - too much envy, too little love - as it is about race and
identity. In this lively, crisp, raw voice, young black Londoners may
have found their Roddy Doyle'
Independent on Sunday
'The mark of Levy's writing is her open-mindedness, her powers of observation and a sort of constructive optimism...Fresh and original'
'A funny poignant insight into teenage life in the early 70s...Never far from nowhere will haunt you'
'The story is well told, does not dodge complexity and rings true as an account of the fear and confusion felt by first generation black English people twenty years ago. Above all Andrea Levy succeeds in showing how people respond to an identity imposed on them by others'
'Painfully perceptive and passionate, Never far from nowhere hits a raw nerve with its powerful concoction of poignancy and humour'
Passionate and angry
'Levy's raw sense of realism and depth of feeling infuses every line
Independent on Sunday
'A rich and colourful portrait of two very endearing individuals. The only disappointment is that after two hundred and fifty pages, it ends'
'A powerful novel, a striking and promising debut'
'You won't want to put this book down'
'An interesting and touching book'
'Every light in the house burnin' is a very fine debut indeed - funny, lucid, quirky and touching, it held me to the last page. Andrea Levy is a fresh and invigorating new voice'
Ferdia Mac Anna, author of The Last of the High Kings
'It is clear that Levy has plenty more to say about being British or just about life. I look forward to reading it'
Aisling Foster, Independent on Sunday
'Andrea Levy is the long awaited birdsong of one born Black and Gifted in Britain. Let her sing and sing and sing'
The Long Song
Fruit of the Lemon
Never far from nowhere
Every light in the house burnin'