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Blonde Roots. Bernardine Evaristo


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A searing exploration of the transatlantic slave trade from the Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other

About the Author

Bernardine Evaristo, MBE, is the award-winning author of eight books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora. Her novel Girl, Woman, Other made her the first black woman to win the Booker Prize in 2019, as well winning the Fiction Book of the Year Award at the British Book Awards in 2020, where she also won Author of the Year, and the Indie Book Award. She also became the first woman of colour and black British writer to reach No.1 in the UK paperback fiction chart in 2020. Her writing spans reviews, essays, drama and radio, and she has edited and guest-edited national publications, including The Sunday Time's Style magazine. Her other awards and honours include an MBE in 2009. Bernardine is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University, London, and President of the Royal Society of Literature. She lives in London with her husband. www.bevaristo.com


British novelist Evaristo delivers an astonishing, uncomfortable and beautiful alternative history that goes back several centuries to flip the slave trade, with "Aphrikans" enslaving the people of "Europa" and exporting many of them to "Amarika." The plot revolves around Doris, the daughter of a long line of proud cabbage farmers who live in serfdom. After she's kidnapped by slavers, she experiences the horror and inhumanity of slave transport, is sold and works her way back to freedom. The narrative cuts back and forth through time, contrasting the journey to freedom with the journey toward slavery. In a less skilled writer's hands, the premise easily could have worn itself out by the second chapter, but Evaristo's intellectually rigorous narrative constantly surprises, and, for all the barbarism on display, it's strikingly human. Evaristo's novel is a powerful, thoughtful reminder that diabolical behavior can take place in any culture, "safety" is an illusion and freedom is something easily taken for granted. This difficult and provocative book is a conversation sparker. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

A hugely imaginative tale that invites important debates, challenging fundamental perceptions of race, culture and history * Independent on Sunday *
This brilliant novel will fulfil [Evaristo's] purpose of making readers view the transatlantic slave trade with fresh eyes * The Times *
A phenomenal book. It is so ingenious and so novel. Think The Handmaid's Tale meets Noughts and Crosses with a bit of Jonathan Swift and Lewis Carroll thrown in. This should be thought of as a feminist classic. * Women's Prize for Fiction Podcast *
Reimagines past and present with refreshing humour and intelligence . . . human and real * Guardian *
[Blonde Roots] is a powerful gesture of fearless thematic ownership by one of the UK's most unusual and challenging writers * Independent *
As with a Swiftean satire, Evaristo's novel is powerful not for its fantastical elements but for its ability to bring home the horror of historical events * Financial Times *

What would the world be like if Africans had enslaved Europeans, instead of vice versa? Evaristo, the daughter of an English mother and a Nigerian father as well as the award-winning author of three previous novels (e.g., The Emperor's Babe), brings such a world to life in this speculative historical fiction. Told through the voice of Doris (renamed Omorenomwara), who was stolen as a child from her home in Britain and sold into slavery, the novel manages to inject some wry, dry humor into its heartbreaking narrative, thanks to its intelligent and sarcastic heroine. The horrors and indignities of slavery are explored in terrible detail, but Doris's unflagging spirit and thirst for freedom keep the story moving. The wide variety of characters, the examinations of image and identity, and Doris's own adventures may make this a popular selection for book groups. Highly recommended for all academic and public libraries.-Alicia Korenman, Florida State Univ. Lib., Tallahassee Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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