A unique novel full of humour, wit and passion from Andrea Levy, critically acclaimed author of the Orange Prize winning SMALL ISLAND and the Man Booker shortlisted THE LONG SONG.
Faith Jackson fixes herself up with a great job in TV and the perfect flatshare. But neither is that perfect - and nor are her relations with her overbearing, though always loving family. Furious and perplexed when her parents announce their intention to retire back home to Jamaica, Faith makes her own journey there, where she is immediately welcomed by her Aunt Coral, keeper of a rich cargo of family history. Through the weave of her aunt's storytelling a cast of characters unfolds stretching back to Cuba and Panama, Harlem and Scotland, a story that passes through London and sweeps through continents.
Levy's follow-up to the Orange Prize and Whitbread-winning Small Island explores how racism reveals itself to a young British-born woman of Jamaican descent, and how the pain can be healed by knowledge of one's roots. Faith Jackson is having a rough go after college: she's fired from her apprenticeship at a prestigious textile designer's and her parents are planning to move back to Jamaica. Though Faith has experienced racism throughout her life, she begins to fear her ethnicity will hobble her career. As she becomes more aware of subtle forms of racism at her entry level job in the BBC costume department and elsewhere, she witnesses a hate crime and, in its aftermath, is sent to Jamaica by her parents for a helpful holiday. It's there, in the second half of the book, that Faith learns a great deal about her extended family and understands why her parents may want to return. Unfortunately, the tone shifts, and what was effective through understatement becomes a rushed unfolding of her family history, complete with diagrams of who begot whom. The change in voice and the narrator's issues with island life (particularly her frustration with its culture) obscure the more poignant aspects of her newfound knowledge.