Tia Byer


Set during the final days of Slavery on the island of Jamaica, Andrea Levy’s 2010 novel, The Long Song is a neo-slave narrative that explores the nature of slave resistance and colonial historiographical control. When read through a postcolonial lens, The Long Song takes the form of a counter-discourse, where the main character of Miss July offers a corrective to the dominant white narratives of Caribbean history. This essay argues that the experience of resistance in Levy’s narrative is one of literary mimicry, analysing July’s written resistance as it answers back to and confronts the colonial narratives that disregard the oppressed individual experience from history. Levy, in reanimating the history of Jamaican slavery by aligning her text with the unheard ‘History From Below’ perspective, demonstrates and replicates the unreliable narratives orchestrated by those ‘From Above’. As such, both Levy and her fictional July employ a method of historiographic metafiction to reclaim the previously silenced voice of the Jamaican slaves that the hegemonic White Planter class seek to oppress and obliterate from historical record.

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metafiction, Caribbean writing, Caribbean history, historiographic metafiction, postcolonialism

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