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.
The Emperor's Babe is Bernardine Evaristo's unique lyrical portrait of Roman London
Meet Zuleika: sassy girl about town, hellraiser, bored ex-child-bride, black Roman in Londinium, AD 211. In the place (and time) to be . . .
Through the bustling, hustling city, its slum tenements and sumptuous villas, we follow Zuleika, feisty and precocious daughter of Sudanese immigrants made good. Married to a fat, rich absent Roman, she is stranded in luxurious neglect, until, one day, Septimus Severus, the Emperor himself, comes to town, bringing with him not just love - but danger . . .
Funky and funny, sexy and moving, this novel in verse is a triumph of imaginative writing - and of sheer lyrical and emotional vitality.
'A heroine of ancient times for the modern age . . . a glittering fiction whose words leap off the page into life. Brilliant'The Times
'Funny, engaging and daring'Independent on Sunday
'Exhilarating . . . wildly entertaining then deeply affecting'Ali Smith
'Adventurous, compelling and utterly original. You won't read another book like it this year'The Times
Bernardine Evaristo is the author of three critically acclaimed 'verse novels' - Lara, The Emperor's Babe (which won the Arts Council Award in 2000) and Soul Tourists - and two prose novels, Blonde Roots and Mr Loverman. Evaristo is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts, and was awarded an MBE in 2009. She lives in London.