Blonde Roots Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Brought to you by Penguin.
Imagine if the transatlantic slave trade was reversed.
Imagine Africans the masters and Europeans their slaves....
Now meet young Doris, living in a sleepy English cottage. One day she is kidnapped and put aboard a slave ship bound for the New World. On a strange tropical island, Doris is told she is an ugly, stupid savage. Her only purpose in life is to please her mistress. Then, as personal assistant to Bwana, Chief Kaga Konata Katamba I, she sees the horrors of the sugarcane fields. Slaves are worked to death under the blazing sun. But though she lives in chains, Doris dreams of escape - of returning home to England and those she loves....
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|Listening Length||7 hours and 15 minutes|
|Narrator||Charlotte Beaumont, Ben Arogundade|
|Audible.in Release Date||16 July 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #27,297 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#41 in Alternate History Science Fiction
#1,131 in Historical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,259 in Literary Fiction
Top reviews from other countries
This book was written in 2008. It's 259 pages, split into 3 "books" then further subdivided into named chapters.
I was attracted to this particular book by it's premise which was, of course, also at the core of the wonderful Malorie Blackman books.
The title is amazing and I spent a long time thinking about it with all the implications, hidden and obvious.
At the start of the book there is a map which very consciously disorientates the reader. The parallel world is which this book is set is very different to our world. It's worth spending some time looking at the map as the plot uses locations heavily and they are not what you expect!
The story then starts with the narrative of a female slave who has the chance of escape. Loads of detail is thrown at the reader from the start, much of which is contrary to our history books. The unsettling effect continues as our social norms are tipped upside down. Anyone reading this will find that you have to look at your own prejudices and consider how they effect your actions and reactions. All the way through prejudice is challenged without pulling any punches or allowing for any liberal sensitivities but always with a searing wit which will keep the reader hooked.
I swept through the first 40 pages without stopping, then paused for thought and decided to read them all again as I wanted to soak up every message and nuance in this book.
Locations are a hugely important to the story, many of them being based on recognisable places but being twisted so you have to think carefully about them. This works as a metaphor for the whole book with characters, plot and details all being recognisable but twisted to make you think.
Bernadine Evaristo has an imagination which is mind blowing. The book seems to pick up on every fault in society by picking it apart and looking through critical eyes. The detail is incredible (Voodoomas?! KKK as the initials of hr boss?!)
Immigration is obviously a big part of the plot and there are many references to this which are considered alongside the class structures in the societies featured.
What blew me away mainly is that BE manages to include so much commentary is this book and also has a fantastic story with great characters. All the elements of the novel are amazing and they seem to feed into each other to give a fantastic read.
The book is compared to The Handmaids Tale which I get. It is then ironic that the two authors shared The Booker Prize in 2019 - both great writers and both on a mission to challenge the world around us.
You will know from other reviews that this is set in a parallel universe where the protagonist of the first 50% (Doris) has been captured and set to work as a slave. The narrative is first person and Doris tries to lighten her situation with humour. It doesn’t work - the ‘jokes’ just aren’t funny.
Around half way through the novel the narrator changes and the story is told by another character. But I cannot summon up any enthusiasm to read on.
This was my first experience of a piece by Ms Evaristo and I’m afraid it will be my last .
From the title alone, it's clear that this novel is playing with our perceptions. In this world, "Whytes" are the slaves and "Aphrikans" the masters. Bernadine Evaristo clearly relishes aspects of building her imaginary world, giving us place names such as Doklanda and Wata Lo as well as subverting western beauty standards and throwing in the odd anachronistic detail to keep us on our toes. But despite this playful element, this is a story of slavery. As such, it is unflinching in its descriptions of the brutality and horrors endured. Turning history on its head and making slaves of white people doesn't make the inhumanity of such a despicable trade any more shocking, but it does give a fresh perspective.
Doris is a feisty and irrepressible character and although often horrific, her story is an engrossing page turner.