HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy
Loading...

Fruit of the Lemon (1999)

by Andrea Levy

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2981037,648 (3.48)26
None

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 26 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I'm finding it difficult to describe this novel in ways that don't make it sound worthy but dull - it is anything but. It's lively, humorous, touching and effortless reading. Bear that in mind as you read further on.

'Fruit of the Lemon' is set initially in London in a time that is probably the late 1970s but is somewhat ill-defined. The latter half of the book is set in Jamaica at the same time. It's the story of Faith Jackson and ultimately the story - or stories - of her family, in London, Jamaica and elsewhere in the world. The telling rests on how these stories are known or revealed to Faith and how they affect her sense of identity, although little is made explicit about the effects on Faith herself. It's just as much about the effects on the reader.

Faith is one of two children of Jamaican immigrants to Britain who came in the wave encouraged by Britain in the 1950s to fill jobs in the public sector, transport and health particularly. Faith grows up knowing very little about her parents families or backgrounds, but isn't greatly concerned by this. She lives in a multi-cultural world typical of her generation in London, but is occasionally made sharply aware that she is black in a white world. Her family at times also express concerns that she doesn't mix 'with her own kind', sharing a flat as she does with three white contemporaries. They also aren't overjoyed to discover that two of her flatmates are men. But her experience isn't single-dimensional - she finds acceptance where she doesn't expect it as well as rejection.

A crisis in her life leads to the suggestion of a holiday with family in Jamaica. It's a place which she initially finds strange in many ways, and some there feel the same about her. Staying with her mother's sister Coral she discovers the island and through Coral and others hears more and more about her family, where they have gone and (perhaps) why. The process of discovery is made explicit through periodic appearances of a family tree throughout the book, one that begins with Faith, her parents, and her brother and ends up too complicated to recall without the diagrams to refer to.

Some of the tone and setting will be familiar to anyone who has read Levy's more well-known later novel "Small Island". The same lightness of touch, nuanced view of identity and culture and humour are all there. This book is a deserved winner of two prizes (the Whitbread and the Orange) and well worth a read. You'll find it much easier than eating a lemon. ( )
  kevinashley | Jun 27, 2013 |
This is a story about discovering one’s roots. The hero is a London girl whose parents emigrated from Jamaica. All her life she’s been conscious of her differences, experiencing a vague tension that only occasionally becomes blatant racism. When she is in danger of becoming overwhelmed by it, her parents send her back to Jamaica. There she finds a place where she fits, and a whole lot more branches to her family tree. It’s light, funny, clearly observed, never shallow, and well worth reading. ( )
  astrologerjenny | Apr 25, 2013 |
This is a story about discovering one’s roots. The hero is a London girl whose parents emigrated from Jamaica. All her life she’s been conscious of her differences, experiencing a vague tension that only occasionally becomes blatant racism. When she is in danger of becoming overwhelmed by it, her parents send her back to Jamaica. There she finds a place where she fits, and a whole lot more branches to her family tree. It’s light, funny, clearly observed, never shallow, and well worth reading. ( )
  astrologerjenny | Apr 24, 2013 |
The first half of this book took place in London and the second half in Jamaica. The London part seemed way too long and bored me. I got really excited when I first started reading the part in Jamaica, but then there were too many family stories to keep track of and it just seemed to turn into a type of personal diary for someone to keep track of their family history. ( )
  Rincey | Mar 29, 2013 |
Faith is about as British as they come despite her Jamaican background. Her parents have told her little about their native country so she is surprised to learn that they are thinking of moving back home. Since she is having trouble settling into a career after college, she decides to visit her aunts and learn more about her roots. The second half of the book set in Jamaica is a collection of character sketches about her ancestors. Faith learns about her rich background and gets more of a feeling for who she truly is. It was interesting to see the family tree grow as the stories of family members were shared.

Levy understands the racial undertones of being black in a white society. One example is when Faith went to a comedy club with a group of white friends and she and one of the performers were the only black persons in the room: "The poet became my dad, my brother, he was the unknown black faces in our photo album, he was the old man on the bus who called me sister, the man in the bank with the strong Trinidadian accent who could not make himself understood. He was every black man--ever." (Pg. 92) ( )
2 vote Donna828 | Nov 16, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Hungarian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031242664X, Paperback)

From Andrea Levy, author of Small Island and winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year and the Best of the Best Orange Prize, comes a story of one woman and two islands.
 
Faith Jackson knows little about her parents' lives before they moved to England. Happy to be starting her first job in the costume department at BBC television, and to be sharing a house with friends, Faith is full of hope and expectation. But when her parents announce that they are moving "home" to Jamaica, Faith's fragile sense of her identity is threatened. Angry and perplexed as to why her parents would move to a country they so rarely mention, Faith becomes increasingly aware of the covert and public racism of her daily life, at home and at work.
 
At her parents' suggestion, in the hope it will help her to understand where she comes from, Faith goes to Jamaica for the first time. There she meets her Aunt Coral, whose storytelling provides Faith with ancestors, whose lives reach from Cuba and Panama to Harlem and Scotland. Branch by branch, story by story, Faith scales the family tree, and discovers her own vibrant heritage, which is far richer and wilder than she could have imagined.
 
Fruit of the Lemon spans countries and centuries, exploring questions of race and identity with humor and a freshness, and confirms Andrea Levy as one of our most exciting contemporary novelists.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:35 -0400)

Faith Jackson fixes herself up with a great job and the perfect flatshare. Neither are that perfect. Furious when her parents retire to Jamaica, she makes her own journey there. Here she is enfolded in her Aunt Coral's endless talk of ancestors, stretching back to Cuba, Panama, Harlem and Scotland.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
26 avail.
17 wanted
3 pay1 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.48)
0.5 1
1
1.5
2 6
2.5 2
3 20
3.5 11
4 25
4.5 1
5 6

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,732,218 books! | Top bar: Always visible