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Fem Book Club is an introduction to a diverse range of texts by women about women. Through informal conversation about each text we will focus on the manifold experiences of being a woman through different moments in history and across varying communities. It is an opportunity to think about and challenge what it means to be a woman and perhaps undermine any assumed universal experience by looking at how people of colour, transgender and non-binary identifying writers, or those who suffer with mental health issues have vastly different experiences of ‘feminism’ or what it is to be a ‘woman’.
This is a welcoming and safe space. We encourage participation from LGBTI women, men, trans and gender diverse persons and non-binary persons.
During this session of Fem Book Club, we’ll be discussing Andrea Levy’s Small Island.
Hortense Joseph arrives in London from Jamaica in 1948 with her life in her suitcase, her heart broken, her resolve intact. Her husband, Gilbert Joseph, returns from the war expecting to be received as a hero, but finds his status as a black man in Britain to be second class. His white landlady, Queenie, raised as a farmer’s daughter, befriends Gilbert, and later Hortense, with innocence and courage, until the unexpected arrival of her husband, Bernard, who returns from combat with issues of his own to resolve.
Told in these four voices, Small Island is a courageous novel of tender emotion and sparkling wit, of crossings taken and passages lost, of shattering compassion and of reckless optimism in the face of insurmountable barriers—in short, an encapsulation of the immigrant’s life.