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Mr. Loverman:

A Novel

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Barrington Jedidiah Walker is seventy-four and leads a double life. Born and bred in Antigua, he’s lived in Hackney, London, for years. A flamboyant character with a fondness for William Shakespeare, Barrington is a husband, father, grandfather—and also secretly gay.

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?

With an abundance of laugh-out-loud humor and wit, Mr. Loverman explodes cultural myths and shows the extent of what can happen when people fear the consequences of being true to themselves.

Editorial Reviews

“Evaristo’s confident control of the language; her vibrant use of humor, rhythm, and poetry; and the realistic mix of Caribbean patois with both street and the Queen’s English…fix characters in the reader’s mind.”

New York Times Book Review

“Evaristo’s skill lies in taking standard metaphorical models and twisting them in the most unusual, original, inventive ways.”

Sunday Times (London)

“Evaristo is extremely attentive to the function of language, the power of words to shape reality.”

Washington Post Book World

“Evaristo has a lot going on in this unusual urban romance, but beneath her careful study of race and sexuality is a beautiful love story.”

Daily Telegraph (London)

“[A] comic, touching book.”

Village Voice

“As a writer at the Guardian once proclaimed, if you don’t know Evaristo’s work, you should…The novel proves to be revolutionary in its honest portrayal of gay men…The Walker family relationships are particularly intriguing, with no character appearing insensate, andEvaristo’s writing is both intelligible and compelling.”

Library Journal (starred review)

“Evaristo crafts a colorful look at a unique character confronting social normativity with a well-tuned voice and a resonant humanity.”

Publishers Weekly

“In this vibrant novel, Evaristo draws wonderful character portraits of complex individuals as well as the West Indian immigrant culture in Britain.”

Booklist

“Told in two voices, this is a provocative contemporary story of a marriage and its unraveling. As Barry, a dapper septuagenarian, Ron Butler charms with his musical tenor. His sense of language and timing is spot on, underlining the rhythm and wordplay of Evaristo’s storytelling. In contrast, Carmel’s chapters are marked by regret and anger. Despite an uneven accent, Robin Miles offers a convincing, sympathetic portrayal, capturing Carmel’s evolving emotions as she reclaims herself. The years fall away from their voices as Barry and Carmel move together toward independence.”

AudioFile

“Bernardine Evaristo can take any story from any time and turn it into something vibrating with life.”

Ali Smith, author of Hotel World, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize for fiction

Mr. Loverman is hilarious, poignant, clever, controversial, and courageous in equal measure. Loved, loved, loved it!”

Dawn French, author of Oh Dear Silvia

“Bernardine Evaristo uncovers characters lost to history and myth with compassion, an original and brilliant voice, and an unparalleled craft—all tinged with humor—she restores them and thus us.”

Chris Abani, author of The Secret History of Las Vegas

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    • 4/5

    Playing with Stereotypes

    Rogue Writer November 25, 2014
    The way this story works with stereotypes and how they affect those who have to deal with them is excellent. Take the main character, Barrington Walker, a Caribbean expat who has hidden his homosexuality from his wife for the duration of their decades-long marriage. Although his daughter pins him in her teens as a “Caribbean Queen,” nothing about his behavior fits the stereotype of the flamboyant gay man. His masculinity and not appearing effeminate is of paramount importance to him. Then there’s his wife, Carmel, a woman who fits the stereotype of the nagging, ultra-religious Caribbean-born wife. It is her drive to consistently remain who she is “supposed” to be that causes her so much anguish throughout her marriage. And even though she has that drive, she fails over and over, especially in lieu of raising her children.

    The story also toys with expectations, in that Barry has the potential to be the typical cheating male who should be the one despised. Instead, he is caring and nurturing with his children, ever-present and involved in their lives, while Carmel won’t even hug her daughter on her birthday. In the end, it’s Carmel with whom it is exceptionally difficult to sympathize. She is just so mean and full of hypocritical deceptions and her own immersion in adultery.

    The storytelling in this book really allowed me to dive into the hearts and minds of the two telling the story, Barry and Carmel. Each of their parts had distinct voices, which was only accentuated by the top-notch narration of two readers. Both Ron Butler and Robin Miles affect the Caribbean islander accent which is reflected in the way the book was written. After this book, I look forward to more from Bernardine Evaristo.
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Author Biography

Bernardine Evaristo has been hailed as one of Britain’s most exciting and original authors. Her books have been chosen as a book of the year thirteen times by British media, and her novel The Emperor’s Babe was a (London) Times Book of the Decade. In 2004 she was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2006 of the Royal Society of Arts. She has written drama for theater and BBC Radio 4 and 3, and she collaborated on a multimedia performance with the musicians Joanna MacGregor and Andy Sheppard for the City of London Festival. Based in London, England, she frequently tours worldwide.

Reader Biography

Robin Miles, also known as Violet Grey, is an accent specialist and award-winning narrator of over two hundred audiobooks. She was named the 2008 Best Voice in Fiction & Classics for The Pirate’s Daughter and 2008 Best Voice in Biography & History for Brother, I’m Dying.

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