Fruit of the Lemon

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  1. Fruit of the Lemon
  2. Book Review: Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy – Purple People Readers
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There she meets her Aunt Coral, whose storytelling provides Faith with ancestors, whose lives reach from Cuba and Panama to Harlem and Scotland.


Fruit of the Lemon

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. Faith, who knows almost nothing about her parents' past or her relatives in Jamaica, takes a degree in fashion and textiles, then moves out of the family home into a shared house and gets a job at the BBC. So far, so normal, except that whether seeking a promotion at work or visiting the country home of one of her white housemates, she repeatedly encounters ingrained, unacknowledged British racism.

Book Review: Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy – Purple People Readers

Her parents' plans to retire to Jamaica and a violent right-wing attack on a black woman working in a local bookshop tip the balance, and Faith has a breakdown. To help her recover, she is sent to Jamaica to visit her aunt.

On the island, Faith meets her relations and begins to piece together her family tree. A sequence of anecdotes and vignettes-stories of skin color, poverty, hard work, elitism, aspiration and emigration-reveals the tradition from which she has emerged. Levy neatly exposes the complex history of black Jamaicans in this series of episodes, which provides Faith with an answer for those bullies and racists: I am the bastard child of Empire and I will have my day. An enjoyable, deft combination of humor and telling observation on owning one's race and roots.


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Firm Sale. Internationally Sourced. She became more aware of the way in which her race influenced the way people interacted with her and soon became withdrawn and disinterested in her glamorous lifestyle.

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  6. The final straw came when she witnessed the aftermath of a racially motivated attack by vandals on an independent bookshop. To help with the issues which were dragging her down, Faith's parents arranged for her to take a two week trip to Jamaica to meet relatives and understand more about her background. After arriving in Jamaica, Faith was taken under the wing of her Aunt Coral, a garrulous character who was very willing to talk about members of her family tree. The journey back through her family tree told by Aunt Coral and other family members revealed family branches in Cuba, Panama, New York and Scotland, with many family members having experienced their own challenges of race and identity over the many generations of the family's history.

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