From the list on history in all its strange and unsettling glory.
Who am I?
Long before I fell in love with History as an academic subject, I fell in love with stories. And as the granddaughter of Caribbean immigrants, true stories of my grandparents’ early lives could transport me to another place as vividly as fiction. So although I have studied History to Master’s level, where I specialized in the legacy of slavery, it is always to fiction that I turn to breathe life into the past. My favourite books are those that are unsettling in the unfamiliarity of the world they create, and yet deeply moving because, at heart, the characters are motivated by timeless and human things like grief, ambition, or love.
Eleanor's book list on history in all its strange and unsettling glory
Discover why each book is one of Eleanor's favorite books.
Why did Eleanor love this book?
This novel is about the experience of the Windrush generation – the Caribbean people who moved to Britain after the Second World War.
Andrea Levy so perfectly captures the experiences of these people that I feel like I can see my own grandparents on the page.
But what I love most about this book is that it sees itself as telling a part of British history – showing how the Caribbean and Britain were connected, but also exploring with equal empathy the experiences of white British characters during and after the War.
As someone mixed race, it is so rare to find books that speak to both sides of my heritage, and this is one of them.
Why should I read it?
7 authors picked Small Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
Hortense shared Gilbert's dream of leaving Jamaica and coming to England to start a better life. But when she at last joins her husband, she is shocked by London's shabbiness and horrified at the way the English live. Even Gilbert is not the man she thought he was. Queenie's neighbours do not approve of her choice of tenants, and neither would her husband, were he there. Through the stories of these people, Small Island explores a point in England's past when the country began to change.