The Long Song is written as a memoir by an elderly Jamaican woman living in early 19th-century Jamaica during the final years of slavery and the transition to freedom that took place thereafter. It tells the tale of a young slave girl, July, who lives at Amity – a sugarcane plantation. She lived through the 1831 Baptist War, and then the beginning of freedom. Her mother, Kitty; the negroes working the plantation land; and the owner of the plantation, the white woman Caroline Mortimer, are other characters in the novel.

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