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186 of 193 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal but ultimately uplifting story
Despite the serious and at times harrowing subject matter, this book was a joy to read. Levy has created a wonderful character in the sassy, spirited Miss July, who narrates the story of her birth in a sugar-cane field and her childhood as a slave to the twittering, pompous plantation owner, Caroline Mortimer.

Her story is heartbreaking, but the touches of...
Published on 14 Feb 2010 by Denise4891

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Oddly unmoving
The best thing about this book is the tone in which it is written. Levy adopts a folksy and (to my ears) somewhat stereotyped style with a Jamaican dialect and accent so as to create an authorial voice that is apparently authentically Caribbean.
In doing this, she invites us to consider the author also a participant in the events as they unfold, which of course she...
Published 15 hours ago by Walter


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a long or deep enough song on such a strong subject..., 11 Mar 2011
By 
This review is from: The Long Song (Paperback)
I don't know why but I cannot put my finger on why this book should have been much much better than it was. Probably that I really couldn't feel any empathy towards July or any other character in the book. For the subject of slavery it should and could have been much deeper and a much stronger story line than what it was. I read on holiday on the beach in 2 days so its a very quick easy read but to be honest if I'd have read it at home I think I would have got bored half way in and called it a day. Could also be that I read the far superior novel on slavery Island beneath the sea by Isabel Allende which is in all ways a better read than long song-that novel is a 5star must read. Long song did just not do it for me-ok but disappointing.Island Beneath the Sea
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pales in to signficance of other similar books, 29 Mar 2010
This review is from: The Long Song (Hardcover)
After reading The Book of Night Women by Marlon James, this book doesn't even come close. The narrative failed to grip me from the start and pales into significance compared to similar books, such as Beloved by Toni Morrsion and The Book of Night Women by Marlon James.

The prose was exsessively flowery, especially considering the topic, period it was set and the characters; who were ultimately slaves and not 18th century aristocrats as Levy often implies with her writing style. For a book of this genre to fail to engage the reader, even by the middle, is extremely disappointing, especially as it covers such powerful topics such as racism, rape and brutality. I actually gave up 3/4 of the way through as I was so frustrated and ultimately, disinterested.

Levy lacked the skills to bring the aspects of history, slavery and biography together. The structure and story were not gripping. She chops and changes her style throughout and it leaves you without a true sense of aim or purpose.

Maybe because of the fact that there are so many excellent books by outstanding authors it was difficlut for Levy to offer anything new - and she hasn't - but I feel that had Levy even come close to Marlon James, this book would have been worth finishing.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a great read, 1 April 2011
By 
This review is from: The Long Song (Kindle Edition)
I didn't enjoy this, to the point of giving up on it two thirds the way through. Perhaps the last third is what salvages it, who knows, but what I did get through was a very patchy read. The novel has an irritating "Dear Reader" writing style that breaks up the plot and the momentum, the narrator is unreliable and annoying and the characters are all pretty unsympathetic. There are a few high points and some nice touches but overall, I really couldn't care enough to finish it. This is a shame, because there is probably a really great book in the story of July. Sadly, this is not it.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear...................., 4 April 2011
By 
WillerbyMum (yorkshire England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Long Song (Paperback)
This was chosen by our book club after reading great reviews, but for the first time we all really struggled with this book and out of the 8 of us only 2 persevered to the bitter end..........I gave up half way through!! and those who did finish did so only out of a sense of duty.
We all struggled to find any empathy with any of the characters and in general we were just annoyed with this book.

Sorry to all those who loved it, we must have been missing something.........but quite what remains a mystery.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 19 July 2011
This review is from: The Long Song (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed Small Island so looked forward to another novel, which I hoped would offer the same depth of character and level of emotion. Sadly, The Long Song didn't deliver. I couldn't connect with July (the main character) at all and ended up feeling as if I couldn't care less what happened to her. A real disappointment.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacklustre, 12 Jun 2010
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This review is from: The Long Song (Hardcover)
I have to agree with bookworm, though quite reluctantly. ,.Stories revolving around RRS (rape, racism, slavery) have been eked out in so much length. The breadwinners usually are the African Americans, or, the lesser known African history fanatic who probably see more dollar signs coming from this overused concept than pondering over some out-of-this world storyline. The right marketing is very competitive and would probably need potential megalomaniacs cashing in somewhere. So as much as RRS naturally draws people in to the most poignant tales of humanity, it is a money-maker's dream. But readers' guilt waver from time to time so these stories must not be average. They seemed to have used a substantial amount of the marketing budget for a very average book. This is why I was not surprised that there were still books on the shelves.

Perhaps reading Marlon James prior to Long Song may have been a bit of a spoiler. Now here's the paradox: not lavished in some bright yellow cover screaming at you to be taken off the shelves, the book of night women - going for half-price in WHsmith - quietly delivers a masterpiece. The prose is not bourgeoisie or patronising at all, which immediately encourages the reader to explore a different way of pronunciation.

Levy's July, on the other hand, is all too proud to reveal the extent of her English vocabulary. While this may seem charming it unexpectedly detracts the average Anglophone reader from the possibility that even mulattoes (as they were called in the past) spoke 'broken English' as well. This is too bad for Levy since most of us really enjoyed small island. A story on slavery is probably not her best work. But where she dips Marlon James most certainly delivers.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read, 12 April 2010
This review is from: The Long Song (Hardcover)
My friends and I recently started a book club and this was the first book that was chosen. I must admit that I had my reservations about reading another Andrea Levy, as I read Small Island and whilst I enjoyed the actual story I find her style of writing difficult to read.

The Long Song first flaw for me is that it is narrated by the main character of the book, Miss July and she interupts that story on a regular basis with her present day comments.

The story itself was interesting and there were a few key moments that had the potential to be really moving, but the story was not detailed enough. The only reason I perserved with completing this book was because this was our first book of the club, otherwise this would have been relegated to a pile somewhere.

I am really disappointed that certain aspects of the storyline were not explored in greater death and as a result I found it hard to truly empathise with any of the characters.

There were some key elements touched upon, such as the slave mentality that they needed to aspire to be white and the whole quadroon and mulatto issue was highlighted quite skillfully.

This book had the potential to be so much more, but the general consensus of myself and my friends was that this was not a book that we would be recommending, although the member that chose it was a little less critical.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very average, 22 May 2011
This review is from: The Long Song (Hardcover)
I found the voice of the narrator annoying at first, but soon got past this and enjoyed the story, finding it an easy, light read. I feel I potentially gained some insights into the mentality of slaves and masters in 19th century Jamaica, but many of the characters had a cartoonish quality: perhaps a necessary result of the novel's humour.I really didn't like a few features of this hardback edition. It looks pretty, but the lack of a dust jacket is impractical for keeping it nice, and I didn't like the author interview at the back being subtitled 'bonus material'or the inclusion of book group questions.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A fluffy but frustrating read, 20 April 2011
This review is from: The Long Song (Paperback)
I was disappointed by the Long Story. Especially after reading the reviews on here. It didn't go deep enough in to detail about things I really wanted to know, the narrator was annoying, interupting the flow of the book and the whole style of the book I found to be a bit flippant. The picture on the front didn't seem to accurately portray any of the characters either.

Good price and excellent delivery from Amazon though!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not an engaging novel, 26 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Long Song (Paperback)
This book does not provide anything substantial as to the build up of the Baptist War or The Boxing Day Rebellion in Jamaica 1831. You learn absolutely nothing about Samuel Sharpe, or the Baptist War, or even the abolition of slavery which is the backdrop to this book. It is not a novel as the characters are not engaging, nor do you learn anything about the changing times that they are living in.
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The Long Song
The Long Song by Andrea Levy (Paperback - 6 Jan 2011)
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