Redressing Racist Legacies in the Melancholic Nation: Anger and Silences in Andrea Levy’s Fruit of the Lemon
Drawing on Sara Ahmed’s figure of the angry Black woman (2010), Audre Lorde’s pioneering work on anger as a response to racism, and critical discussions of racial and postcolonial melancholia (Cheng 2002; Gilroy 2004), this article examines the novel’s complex engagement with silences, anger and racism. It focuses largely on the first half of Fruit of the Lemon and pays close attention to Levy’s use of the ellipses. By looking at the workings of racial politics in the novel and the ways in which various expressions of anger are silenced and/or articulated, I argue that Faith’s situation in the novel is complicated because the nation is melancholic in its relation to the raced other and its colonial history. We are presented with “the suffering racial body” (Cheng 29) from the very beginning and this novel, like her Levy’s other works, urges us to keep on “looking at the historical, cultural and cross racial consequences of racial wounding and to situate these effects as crucial, formative elements of individual, national and cultural identities” (Cheng 94).