Saturday 5 January 2019

Review: Six Stories and An Essay by Andrea Levy

Six Stories and An Essay Six Stories and An Essay by Andrea Levy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I bought the audio book of this some time ago just after reading her book Small Island and never got round to reading it. Now after watching the TV adaptation of her book The Long Song and watching an accompanying Imagine interview of her by Alan Yentob I resurrrected it.

Six stories and an essaay was first published in 2014. The essay covers much of what she covers in many of her interviews abouit her upbringing, her family, her awakening a a Black British Writer.
Each story is prefaced with an introduction by Levy. The first story "The Diary" is one she wrote whilst studying Creative Writing at City Lit in London - the classic creative Writing Prompt "You find a Diary....".

"Deborah" is a totally different voice, of a child, written in response to newspapers of the time being full of the story of child murderers .

The third story is entitled "That Polite Way That English People Have" which is readers' first introduction to the character of Hortense who is central to her novel The Small Island.

The fourth story "Loose Change" reflects on the unease felt in the relationships between immigrants of different times specifically here between a Caribbean one and an Central Asian one from different generations of migrations.

The next, is perhaps my favourite story, a short about people's fear of the Other, the inability to communicate even when speaking a common language because of the fear of the unknown, seeing only differences not commonalities in this case a common wellbeing for children as told by "The Empty Pram".

The sixth story is "February" one of Levy's stories inspired by her mother and written to order for a Waterstones diary.

Weirdly there is a seventh story, entitled "Uriah's War" on an important topic of the Caribeean men who volunteered and served in the British West Indies Regiments during the first World War, expounding their courage and discrimination.

ashramblings verdict 4* Levy is a great narrator! She makes her page words into somethingelse. The narration is a 5* one and if you are inclined to read this book I thoroughly recommend the narrated version, available via Audible.

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