Andrea Levy writes with wonderful immediacy and liveliness in this, her third novel about the experience of being black in Britain. It's the late 70's and Faith Jackson's in a hurry - to loosen the hold of her loving but strict parents, to "go her own sweet way". At her new job as a dresser at Television Centre Faith negotiates the trip-wires of being black in often slyly witty, seemingly throwaway asides. But her parents' announcement that they might go home to Jamaica and a vicious racist National Front attack on a local bookshop, propels Faith into crisis.
Urged by her parents--"Child, everyone should know where they come from"--she goes to Kingston to stay with garrulous Auntie Coral. For Faith, it was her aunt's and cousin's rich and lively sequence of conversational storytelling's that 'wrapped me in a family history and swaddled me tight in its stories' - then released her into a new sense of self.
Fruit of the Lemon is an affectionate and absorbing narrative that makes its points about racism's effacements and brutalities with unforced but striking resonance. It offers us a voice of pleasurable yet gritty substance and significance: millennial Britain needs more like this. --Ruth Petrie
Funny and moving... Levy is an ironic comedian whose subtle, intelligent novel steers well clear of whimsy (Guardian
Critical acclaim for Andrea Levy:
A pleasure to read... Entertaining and revelatory (TLS
For Every Light in the House Burnin':
Reinforces Levy's reputation as an astute observer of modern British life (Financial Times
'Andrea Levy is the long-awaited birdsong of one born black and gifted in Britain. Let her sing and sing' Marsha Hunt
'Every Light in the House Burnin' is a very fine début indeed - lucid, funny, quirky and touching, it held me to the last page' Ferdia Mac Anna
Always refreshingly undogmatic... [readers] will recognise the truthfulness of the world which Andrea Levy describes (Sunday Telegraph
'A rich and colourful portrait of two very endearing individuals. The only disappointment is that after two hundred and fifty pages, it ends' Literary Review
For Never Far From Nowhere:
'An inspired coming-of-age novel with a mature grasp of generational conflict, pressure to conform and the fraught process of discovering one's identity, Never Far From Nowhere should be read by anyone growing up in Britain today' Scotsman
'Painfully perceptive and passionate, Never Far From Nowhere hits a raw nerve with its powerful concoction of poignancy and humour' Pride
'Never Far From Nowhere is 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' Christina Patterson, Independent on Sunday