About the book:
Bernardine Evaristo's dynamic debut novel asks: What if the history of the transatlantic slave trade had been reversed, and if Africans has enslaved Europeans? How would that have changed the ways that people justified their inhuman behaviour? How would it inform our cultural attitudes and the insidious racism that still longer today?
We see this tragicomic world turned upside down through the eyes of Doris, and Englishwoman who is kidnapped as a child from the fields near her home; subsequently enslaved; and taken to the New World, as well as to the imperial center of Great Ambossa. Doris movingly recounts experiences of tremendous hardship and the dreams of the people she has left behind, all while journeying toward an escape into freedom.
A daring and thought-provoking book, this story does its job very well. It was strange at first, reading about this different and yet familiar world, but as the book went it is seemed more and more real. Don't get me wrong, it was never a completely comfortable read, but is was scary how believable it all became.
It was easy to resonate with the character of Doris, to appreciate her viewpoint on the situation she was in. The others appeared as individuals, with clear ways of seeing the world influenced by their own pasts. Each character was unique and believable.
If I had to pick one hole in this book, it would be that I was never entirely sure what time period it was supposed to be set in. Some things seemed really modern, others seemed somehow unnecessarily primitive. However, this only jarred with me once or twice and for a very short time, as the characters were so gripping, and the events so intense.
This book should be read by anyone interested in, or studying, the history of the slave trade. Its also a really hard-hitting and yet enjoyable read for all who usually like historic fiction, or just a good novel.
Action Reader's Action:
Pay particular attention to thinking about how you treat other people today.
How much do you know about your family history?
How has it influenced your view of the world?