Today, it’s a review of a book by the brilliant Bernardine Evaristo, Mr Loverman.
You ever have those books that you have always wanted to read but never get round to them? Or the timing just isn’t right? That’s what I felt with Mr Loverman. I’ve wanted to read it for a long time but it just didn’t feel like the right time for the book. But now I’ve finished it and loved it! But first, what’s it about? Here’s the blurb:
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.
After reading Girl, Woman, Other, I fell in love with Bernardine Evaristo and her writing. I love the rhythm of it, the characters, the messages, the stories she takes us and that’s in full swing with the brilliant and charming Mr Loverman. As soon as I started it, I knew I would enjoy this book and of course, I did.
I love the characters in this book. From Barry to Morris, to Carmel, Barry’s children, his grandson, and Barry’s friends he meets along the way. I loved his relationship with Morris – it’s layered, takes twists and turns but there’s a great love that is in the centre. I think a key theme in this and Girl, Woman, Other is the theme of being your true self and also, the consequences of that too. This is something that I think Bernardine tackles brilliantly and there’s a great flawed humanity in her characters.
Bernardine Evaristo has such a great and original voice – it’s like any other. I love the poetic nature of it, the lyrical side of it, breaking forms and boundaries. I love the structure of the novel as we get an insight into not only Barry but also his wife Carmel. The structure is playful but nuanced, too. I’ve listened to a sample of the audiobook and loved it! It works so well with audio – it’s brilliant.
I loved the exploration of the Caribbean community, of marriage, friendship, sexuality, gender, love, and more. I loved the flawed characters that are rooted in human truth that shines throughout Bernardine Evaristo’s brilliant writing. I loved this book and I just know I’m going to re-read it again and again.
I also love these new covers of her previous books – I’m going to read the three others I haven’t read after I read some more of the Booker books so I can focus on them properly. Bernardine Evaristo is now one of my favourite writers and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
You can read my review of Girl, Woman, Other here.
Have you read Mr Loverman? What did you think? What’s your favourite Bernardine Evaristo novel? Let me know in the comments!