Small Island is a book written by Andrea Levy in 2004. The novel revolves around World War II and the status of immigrants in Britain after the War. The story tells of a British couple who had been separated when the husband went to fight in the War and so his wife, Queenie, started renting out rooms to immigrants. The story then follows another arc, one of two married immigrants from Jamaica, Gilbert Joseph and his wife Hortense who are tenants in Queenie's house. Hortense considers herself to be 'upper class' and so finds Queenie's house distasteful. The story then goes on to show how immigrants are not readily accepted by British society and how mixed-race children are looked down upon as if they have no identity. The book follows Hortense's life in Britain and how Queenie welcomes immigrants, unlike many of her neighbors.
The book was written by the author to portray immigrants in post-war Britain and to show readers how they were treated. It also explains how racial hatred was at an all time high post-war despite immigrants taking up low-skilled jobs in Britain to keep the economy moving. The author also showed how immigrants struggle to integrate themselves in Britain and the difficulties which arise when they try to.
The book has been received well by critics and readers and won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 2004 as well as the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2004. The book has also been turned into a two-part television series as of 2009.