Bernardine Evaristo's Mr Loverman: 'Brokeback Mountain with ackee and saltfish and old people' Dawn French
Barrington Jedidiah Walker is seventy-four and leads a double life. Born and bred in Antigua, he's lived in Hackney since the sixties. A flamboyant, wise-cracking local character with a dapper taste in retro suits and a fondness for quoting Shakespeare, Barrington is a husband, father and grandfather - but he is also secretly homosexual, lovers with his great childhood friend, Morris.
His deeply religious and disappointed wife, Carmel, thinks he sleeps with other women. When their marriage goes into meltdown, Barrington wants to divorce Carmel and live with Morris, but after a lifetime of fear and deception, will he manage to break away?
Mr Loverman is a ground-breaking exploration of Britain's older Caribbean community, which explodes cultural myths and fallacies and shows the extent of what can happen when people fear the consequences of being true to themselves.
Praise for Bernardine Evaristo:
'One of Britain's most innovative authors . . . Bernardine Evaristo always dares to be different' New Nation
'Evaristo remains an undeniably bold and energetic writer, whose world view is anything but one-dimensional' Sunday Times
'Audacious genre-bending, in-yer-face wit and masterly retellings of underwritten corners of history are the hallmarks of Evaristo's work' New Statesman
Bernardine Evaristo is the author of seven books including three critically acclaimed verse novels, Lara, The Emperor's Babe and Soul Tourists. Mr Loverman is her second prose novel, after 2008's Blonde Roots, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize and won the Orange Prize Youth Panel Award. Evaristo's other awards include the EMMA Best Book, Arts Council Award and the Big Red Read Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded an MBE in 2009. She lives in London.
It's a hot summer afternoon. Tension is in the air. A gang of youths on bikes gathers outside a chip shop. A teenage boy is stabbed and left bleeding on the street.
The boy's motherwonders how this could have happened to her son. She is full of questions, but when the answers lie so close to home, are they really what she wants to hear?
Welcome to a world turned upside down. One minute, Doris, from England, is playing hide-and-seek with her sisters in the fields behind their cottage. The next, someone puts a bag over her head and she ends up in the hold of a slave-ship sailing to the New World . . .
In this fantastically imaginative inversion of the transatlantic slave trade - in which 'whytes' are enslaved by black people - Bernardine Evaristo has created a thought-provoking satire that is as accessible and readable as it is intelligent and insightful. Blonde Roots brings the shackles and cries of long-ago barbarity uncomfortably close and raises timely questions about the society of today.
'Wildly entertaining, deeply affecting' Ali Smith, author of How to be both and Autumn
A coming-of-age tale to make the muses themselves roar with laughter and weep for pity -- sassy, razor-sharp and transformative -- from the acclaimed author of Mr Loverman
Londinium, AD 211. Zuleika is a modern girl living in an ancient world. She's a back-alley firecracker, a scruffy Nubian babe with tangled hair and bare feet - and she's just been married off a fat old Roman. Life as a teenage bride is no joke but Zeeks is a born survivor. She knows this city like the back of her hand: its slave girls and drag queens, its shining villas and rotting slums. She knows how to get by. Until one day she catches the eye of the most powerful man on earth, the Roman Emperor, and her trouble really starts...
Silver-tongued and merry-eyed, this is a story in song and verse, a joyful mash-up of today and yesterday. Kaleidoscoping distant past and vivid present, The Emperor's Babe asks what it means to be a woman and to survive in this thrilling, brutal, breathless world.
Bernardine Evaristo is the author of three novels, Lara, The Emperor's Babe and Soul Tourists, all of which fuse fiction with poetry. Blonde Roots is her first prose novel. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004 and the Royal Society of Arts in 2006. She lives in London.