Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

"Every light in the house burnin" by Andrea Levy (Review, 1994)

Chapters about growing up in the 50s in London alternate with chapters describing the illness of the narrator's father years later. The narrator is black, though this isn't often mentioned explicitly.

  • 'I am your friend, really - but pretend I'm not to everyone else - all right?' she whispered, (p.61)
  • You want to turn red like those English people - you shouldn't sit in the sun.'
    'Everyone else -'
    'Cha,' my dad insisted before I had time to finish. 'We're not like everybody else.'
  • I knew this society better than my parents. My parents' strategy was to keep as quiet as possible in the hope that no one would know that they had sneaked into this country. They wanted to be no bother at all. but I had grown up in its English ways. I could confront it, rail against it, fight it, because it was mine - a birthright.

I liked the episode when the parents were trying to impress visitors, only for the meter to run out. In the end they had to use two-shilling pieces from their guests.

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