African American Literature,  Book Reviews,  FICTION,  FOUR STARS ****,  History,  Latin America/Caribbean,  Memoir/Biography,  Prize Winner

The Long Song by Andrea Levy **** (of 4)

This is the story of Miss July a house slave in Jamaica from her birth in the cane fields to her post-slavery restitution living in the house of her accomplished son, his wife, and according to Miss July, her son’s three excessively pampered daughters.  This memoir of sorts is chirpy and upbeat as seen through the ordinary lives of enslaved Africans.  Yet their lives are so horrible and awful that no amount of rationalizing on my part could let me understand how a slave owner could treat other humans worse than penned chickens.  Masters had to maintain the concurrent belief that slaves were no more capable of higher thoughts than feral goats and simultaneously worry that his slaves were so clever and devious that a deadly revolt or uprising could erupt at any moment.  The voices of both masters and slaves are so real in the hands of Andrea Levy’s skillful pen that they creep inside your head to linger for days.