The Emperor’s Babe by Bernardine Evaristo
Written by Ashley Kelmore, Posted in Reviews
Fans of the author’s previous work. People who want to have to work really hard to understand what they are reading.
In a nutshell:
Zuleika is a Sudanese woman living in Londinium in 211. She is married as a pre-teen, then eventually starts an affair with the Roman emperor.
“She moaned she had no time to herself now. I moaned that was all I had.”
Why I chose it:
It was part of a subscription box.
I want to challenge myself as a reader, to learn more, to experience different styles of writing, to get inside the lives of others. But I also want to enjoy what I read. When I flipped open this book and saw it was written in verse, my first thought was ‘but why?’ My second thought was ‘I’ve got to at least give it a go.’
Life is short, and I kind of wish I’d gone with my gut on this one.
You likely have heard of author Evaristo – her book “Girl, Woman, Other” was everywhere in 2019 and 2020. My mother in law even recommended it to me, but when I flipped through it and saw it was written in verse, I declined to pick it up. I do not have a literary background, so freely admit that this book was likely just over my head. The plot was pretty loose, and given how few words are on any page when one writes in verse, I was surprised at how long it took me to finish it.
This is not a bad book. It is also not a book I enjoyed at all; I think I’m not sophisticated enough to follow it. I would have thoroughly enjoyed the plot had it been presented as a novella or short story, but for me, it just doesn’t work here.
Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it: