Small IslandBook - 2004
'A great read... honest, skilful, thoughtful and important' - Guardian
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...
From Library Staff
RenGrrl Aug 14, 2012
Lovely and heart-wrenching award-winning novel! Check out the video too!
A small island in the Caribbean and a small island in the North Atlantic are forced to confront each other as World War II brings soldiers from Jamaica to England.
Harriet_the_Spy Aug 16, 2010
Levy is uncanny at getting us to understand and sympathize with characters we think we don't like. Remarkable, gripping story.