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Book Review “Fruit of the Lemon” by Andrea Levy, a British Author
A Writer from Jamaica
English is a universal language spoken from Jamaica to India. Thus it is no surprise that a writer with pedigree from Jamaica has made it good on the literary scene in England. The Writer is Andre Levy who was born in England in 1956, but has Jamaican parents who migrated before her birth to England. Though she was born in England, she is proud of her Afro- Jamaican heritage. The English language is richer because of writers like Andrea Levy
Andrea Levy is of black ancestry and made a mark as a writer in the English language. She had earlier written the novel Small Island and won the Whitbread Book of the Year and the Best of the Best Orange Prize. She has followed up by writing “Fruit of the Lemon” which is a lovely story of a woman who straddles two islands thousands of miles apart. She has created a vivid picture of a global environment.
Fruit of the Lemon
The story revolves around a girl named Faith Jackson whose parents have moved to England from Jamaica. She is not aware of her heritage as she picks up a job with BBC television costume department and is generally happy. She is in for a cultural shock as her parents tell her that they are moving back to Jamaica. She wonders why they are moving back to a place about which she had been told very little.
As she comes to terms with her parent’s decision her sense of identity is threatened and she notes the subtle racism that exists all around her. She notices that this is something which is part of her daily life, both at home and work.
She accepts her parent’s suggestion to make a trip to Jamaica. There she meets her Aunt Coral who tells her stories of her ancestors. She realizes that her life encompasses the end result of a vast canvas that stretches from Cuba and Panama to Harlem and Scotland. She discovers her heritage and Faith realizes that her heritage is much above the ordinary. This is indeed an exciting tale and the novel brings to the fore the problems of immigrants and their heritage which they have lost.
Assessment of the Novel
Fruit of the Lemon is a top class novel and Andre Levy deserves credit for weaving a topical tale. In this she has drawn from her personal experiences in life and these are part of the novel.
The novel is written in a lucid and easy to read style. Andre brings to the fore her acumen as a novelist. Levy’s writing has a lyrical quality and she brings to the fore the problems of assimilation of Jamaicans and similar persons who have migrated to England. Fruit of the Lemon was published in 1999 and even 14 years down the line the novel has carved a niche of its own. There is no doubt that Levy is one of the top British novelists on the scene.
Andrea began writing only in her mid-thirties. She has an Afro-Jamaican descent though her paternal grandfather was Jewish and great Grandfather a Scot. Andre was born in 1956 and her parents sailed to England in 1948. The writer is currently residing in London, with her husband, Bill Mayblin. He is a graphic designer by profession. Bill has 2 daughters from an earlier marriage and Levy is loving step mom to the girls named Hannah and Maya.
Andrea has a dark tan and many earlier many mistook her of being Hispanic , but she made it a point to say she was Afro-Jamaican.
Ms Levy has won a string of awards for her books. It is interesting to catalog the awards she has won. These shows case her forte as a writer. She won her first award in 2014
- 2004: Orange Prize for Fiction, winner, Small Island
- 2004: Whitbread Book of the Year, winner, Small Island
- 2005: Commonwealth Writers Prize, winner, Small Island
- 2010: Man Booker Prize, shortlist, The Long Song
- 2011: Walter Scott Prize, winner, The Long Song
She has written 5 novels so far. These are
- Every Light in the House Burnin′ (1994)
- Never Far from Nowhere (1996)
- Fruit of the Lemon (1999)
- Small Island (2004)
- The Long Song (2010)