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Mr Loverman Paperback – 29 Aug 2013

45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (29 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241145783
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241145784
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


British writer Bernardine Evaristo is the award-winning author of seven books including her new novel, Mr Loverman, about a 74 yr old Caribbean London man who is closet homosexual (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, 2013 & Akashic USA, 2014). Her writing is characterised by experimentation, daring, subversion and challenging the myths of various Afro-diasporic histories and identities. Her books range in genre from poetry, verse-novels, a novel-with-verse, a novella, short stories, prose novels, radio and theatre drama, and literary essays and criticism. Her eighth book will be a collection of her short stories, published by in Italian by Carocci in 2015. The first monograph on her work, Fiction Unbound by Sebnem Toplu, was published in August 2011 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. The second will be published by Carocci in 2015.

Her awards include the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, EMMA Best Book Award, Big Red Read, Orange Youth Panel Award, NESTA Fellowship Award and Arts Council Writer's Award. Her books have been a Best Book of the Year 13 times in British newspapers and magazines and The Emperor's Babe was a Times 'Book of the Decade'. Hello Mum has been chosen as one of twenty titles for World Book Night in 2014. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2006, and she received an MBE in 2009.

Her books are: MR LOVERMAN (Penguin, 2013), HELLO MUM (Penguin 2010), LARA (Bloodaxe 2009), BlONDE ROOTS (Penguin 2008), SOUL TOURISTS (Penguin 2005), THE EMPEROR'S BABE (Penguin 2001), the first version of LARA (ARP 1997), ISLAND OF ABRAHAM (Peepal Tree, 1994). For more information visit BOOKS. Her verse novel The Emperor's Babe was adapted into a BBC Radio 4 play in 2013 and her novella Hello Mum was broadcast as a Radio 4 play in 2012. Her writing - essays, articles and non-fiction - has appeared in many publications.

She has edited and guest edited several publications. She is the co-editor of two recent anthologies and a special issue of Wasafiri magazine: Black Britain: Beyond Definition, which celebrated and reevaluated the black writing scene in Britain. In 2012 she was Guest Editor of the winter issue of Poetry Review, Britain's leading poetry journal, in its centenary year. Her issue, Offending Frequencies, featured more poets of colour than had ever previously been published in a single issue of the journal, as well as many female, radical, experimental and outspoken voices.

She is also a literary critic for the national newspapers such as the Guardian and Independent and has judged many literary awards including the National Poetry Competition, TS Eliot Prize, Orange First Novel Award and the Next Generation Poet's List. In 2012 she was Chair of the Caine Prize for African Fiction and Chair of The Commonwealth Short Story Prize. That year she also founded the Brunel University African Poetry Prize. She is Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University and designed and teaches the anuual six month Guardian¬-University of East Anglia 'How to Tell a Story' fiction course in London.

She has toured widely in the UK and since 1997 she has accepted invitations to take part in over 100 international visits as a writer. She gives readings and delivers talks, keynotes, workshops and courses and she has held visiting fellowships and professorships.

Bernardine Evaristo was born in Woolwich, south east London, the fourth of eight children, to an English mother and Nigerian father. Her father was a welder and local Labour councillor and her mother a schoolteacher. She was educated at Eltham Hill Girls Grammar School, the Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama, and Goldsmiths, University of London, where she earned a PhD in Creative Writing. She spent her teenage years acting at Greenwich Young People's Theatre. She lives in London with her husband.

Product Description

Review

Mr Loverman is hilarious, poignant, clever, controversial and courageous in equal measure. Loved, loved, loved it! (Dawn French)

A brave and important story . . . I enjoyed it enormously (Jonathan Kemp, author of London Triptych)

Bernardine Evaristo can take any story from any time and turn it into something vibrating with life (Ali Smith)

An undeniably bold and energetic writer, whose world view is anything but one-dimensional (Sunday Times)

This riproaring, full-bodied riff on sex, secrecy and family is Bernardine Evaristo's seventh book. If you don't yet know her work, you should - she says things about modern Britain that no one else does (Maggie Gee Guardian)

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. Not many writers could have two old men having sexual intercourse in a bedsit to a soundtrack of Shabba Ranks's Mr Loverman and save it from bad taste, much less make it sublime. But the hero of this book, and his canny creator, make everything taste just fine (Daily Telegraph)

A pacey fable about summoning both the daring and the art to live a truthful life . . . her writing simply fizzes with musical energy (Express)

A brilliant study of great characters in modern London (Independent)

Funny, brave . . . I loved Mr Loverman (Ian Thomson Spectator)

Transforms our often narrow perceptions of gay men in England . . . Comical, agonising and, ultimately, moving (Independent)

Heartbreaking yet witty, this is a story that needed to be told (Jackie Kay Observer)

About the Author

Bernardine Evaristo is the author of seven books including three critically acclaimed verse novels, Lara, The Emperor's Babe and Soul Tourists. Mr Loverman is her second prose novel, after 2008's Blonde Roots, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize and won the Orange Prize Youth Panel Award. Evaristo's other awards include the EMMA Best Book, Arts Council Award and the Big Red Read Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded an MBE in 2009. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JD on 10 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As an earlier reviewer has already remarked, I also couldn't put this book down .. and I so love that feeling .. I wanted to know more and more about Barry, Carmel, and Uncle Morris. I found myself laughing with joyful recognition at the situations that all families find themselves in, but also crying bitter tears of sympathy, as lives of loyalty and duty replace passion and/or companionship. But - there comes a time in everyone's life when all duty is done, when loyalty starts to be victimhood, and there's a break for the border before its too too late...

Set in Hackney(which is where I live, so even better), the evocation of place is perfectly drawn, taking the reader into the eclectic streets around Kingsland Road, Ridley Road market and Dalston, and into the better-heeled environs of the West End. We are taken into the lives of a black Hackney family whose idiosyncrasies are entertainingly, sometimes tragically, described by Evaristo's gorgeous prose.

Barry and Carmel's marriage is described from their own, opposing points of view. Evaristo creates each voice deftly and sympathetically, from Barry's sometimes earthy, sometimes ironic always humorous tongue-in-cheek patois as he begins to face his demons - to a lyrical Carmel finding temporary comfort with the local church, before duty calls her back to her dying father, leaving Barry to fend for himself - un-for-tune-ately.

Evararisto describes the plight of thousands of marriages - the initial exhilarating hope of naive newlyweds turning to sour civility, during a 50 year marriage of barely tolerated resentment. Children, postnatal depression, the march of time and technology, oh and a love that dare not speak its name ... all taking their toll .. the characters are funny, lovable and multi-layered. I'm looking forward to rereading it already.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carole A. Hailey on 10 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you like great characters, great stories and great writing then you'll love Mr Loverman. Bernardine Evaristo's lightness of touch picking her way through the complexities of finding peace with the most important things in life: love, relationships and family, was a joy. She has created a cast of characters who are all deeply flawed yet wonderfully sympathetic. I couldn't put this book down and I would recommend it to anyone. Mr Loverman deserves to be read far and wide!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By anny on 25 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a lovely book - it is very evocative about a particular part of London and I'm sure I've heard Barrington talking on the number 38 bus! It is a brilliant description of the lives of older black Londoners and the cast of supporting characters creates a very rounded picture of Barry and Carmel's lives during their very long but very empty marriage. Barrington is a very charming man, articulate and seductive, and initially it seemed to be his story but then I found myself getting more and more interested in the sections of the book telling things from Carmel's point of view. In the end I found myself cheering her on as she starts to create a life for herself after all those years. They have both been trapped for all those years by convention and respectability but at least Barrington had Morris by his side, a relationship hidden in plain sight. Carmel had very little until a return 'home' for a funeral marks a new start for her. I was cheering her on!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By KB1977 on 25 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
What a brilliant book. Once you get into the swing of reading the patois you can hear the characters voice in your head and it really comes alive. It is in essence a love story but with more substance and believeability than any Mills & boon or Bridget Jones style novel. I was chuckling out loud at times but then also felt the pain experienced by Barrington, the ever patient Morris and Carmel. I can't wait for my husband to read this - which is something I never thought I'd say about a love story!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Literature lover on 23 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is yet enother fabulous read from Bernardine Evaristo, It's funny, moving, wise, and studded with beautiful writing. 100% reader pleasure, as well as important themes. Evaristo takes on topics other writers avoid - in this case gay love between septuagenarian Caribbean men, as well as the lives of second and third generation Caribbean diaspora in the UK - and weaves it into personal, witty narrative. She makes it look easy, but it can't have been easy to write. A salute to Bernardine Evaristo.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James on 5 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't really write a 'review' of this book, but please let me say just how much I enjoyed this wonderful book! Not only does it deal with characters from the Caribbean, but they are Senior Citizens!!!!! Lively, wonderful, funny Seniors, men I'd love to know, and hope I can become!

Many thanks Mrs Evaristo for introducing the world to these wonderful people. I think there's life in the old dogs yet, and look forward to further adventures!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LondonS on 7 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Sometimes you can't help but judge a book by it's cover - the smiling, jaunty-looking gentleman on the cover of Bernadine Evaristo's Mr Loverman reeled me in before I'd even read the first line. He's a dapper fellow, isn't he?

Mr Loverman is a fantastic novel focusing on a very under represented cultural community: ageing ethnic homosexuals. Coming out of the closet when you're in your 20s or 30s is a scary and lifechanging thing, but imagine telling your friends and family you're gay at the age of 74. That's a whole new ballpark. At 74 you've no doubt carved out a life for yourself with friends, family and children. Coming out at that point turns all of that upside down, it changes people's perception not only of your life but of their own, especially if those people are your children.

Barrington Walker is struggling with all of that and more, and it makes for juicy and entertaining reading. With a church-going wife who has a temper for days, Barry keeps putting off coming out to his family, much to the despair of his lover Morris. The interaction between Barry and his wife, Carmel, was heatbreaking but at the same time hilarious. Morris was a loveable, almost bumbling character and a perfect compliment to Barry. Constant companions it's as if they're already an old married couple, arguing over everything but still affectionate.

Sprinkled with Caribbean patois and slang and food that made my mouth water, Mr Loverman was immersive and kept me hooked until the very end.

This is easily one of my favourite books of 2013 and I'd recommend it to absolutely anyone.
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