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Blonde Roots: From the Booker prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other

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But for some reason the heroine is dull at best, and the slave trader is witty making for a disturbing debate of whom to root for. Fugge di nuovo, viene catturata, picchiata duramente e mandata a fare lavori manuali in una piantagione di canna da zucchero. As we follow her perilous escape, Doris tells us how she was abducted from a poor English cabbage farm where she lived with her parents.

Because the Caucasoinid brain is so stunted, it has also naturally led to somewhat blunted emotions. This is Evaristo’s first novel entirely in prose - her background is as a poet and her first three books were all partly in verse - but her language retains its musicality and exuberance, particularly in Doris’s un-self-pitying, drily comic tone. Bernardine Evaristo, MBE, is the award-winning author of eight books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora. There are also, inevitably because of the title, comparisons that can be made with Alex Haley’s Roots. There were parts of this that I really enjoyed and found both thought-provoking and unexpectedly funny at times (I sincerely hope certain aspects of this were meant to be read as humorous) but there were also extended periods where my focus drifted entirely and I had to rewind the audiobook and force myself to pay attention.

Running through these pages is not just a feisty, hyperactive imagination asking 'what if', but the unhealed African heart with the question, 'how does it feel? She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University, London, and Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature. Book Two, in which Chief Kaga Konata Katamba gives us his memoirs of his first trip to the Heart of Darkness which is the Cabbage Coast, and describes his first encounters with the backwards-seeming natives of England, is well done.

In the reverse-image past that Evaristo imagines, civilized Africans have built a vibrant culture and economy by capturing primitive Europeans and using them as slaves. Is it a sort of "torture porn" for those who'd like to read about Europeans being whipped and raped for once?There's also a predictable checklist of race-difference issues: natural hair, names, food and spice, clothes, personal habits, language, beauty standards, cultural assimilation/resistance. Blonde Roots brings the shackles and cries of long-ago barbarity uncomfortably close and raises timely questions about the society of today. Quasi tutti i cocchieri venivano fermati e ispezionati dagli sceriffi se circolavano senza passeggeri a bordo, specie quelli di proprietà dei più ricchi, che si permettevano finiture personalizzate come i raggi delle ruote placcati d’oro. Evaristo χρησιμοποιεί σημαντικά στοιχεία από τη ζωή και τα δεινά των σκλάβων, ώστε να τραβήξει την προσοχή του αναγνώστη και να του θυμίσει, αν τυχόν το ξέχασε, ότι σκοπός της δεν είναι να βγάλει το άχτι της στους λευκούς για όσα πέρασαν και συνεχίζουν να περνούν οι έγχρωμοι, αλλά ότι δεν πρέπει να ξεχνάμε τι έχουμε κάνει, μπας και καταλάβουμε ότι πρέπει όλο αυτό επιτέλους να τελειώσει.

We see this tragicomic world turned upside down through the eyes of Doris, an Englishwoman enslaved and taken to the New World, movingly recounting experiences of tremendous hardship and the dreams of the people she has left behind, all while journeying toward an escape into freedom.The reunion of Doris and Sharon is somewhat unlikely, and for literary purposes, fortuitous, enabling the novel to end with a convenient resolution of various loose ends. At one point, there are questions about how a whyte slave, who’s lost most of their family to slavery, can cosy up to the blak masters for an easier life. It looks beautiful at first, but actually shows slavers throwing the dead and dying overboard as a typhoon approaches. Trying to cheer themselves, the slaves sing the old spirituals of their homeland: "Shud ole akwaintaince be forget/An neva bring to mind/Should ole akwaintance be forget/An ole lang zine. It reads like the kind of fanfic that people label crack because they just want to toss in whatever they think is funny without a care for whether it makes sense to the story.

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