Hottentot Venus by Barbara Chase-Riboud
A Novel

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Synopsis

It is Paris, 1815. An extraordinarily shaped South African girl known as the Hottentot Venus, dressed only in feathers and beads, swings from a crystal chandelier in the duchess of Berry’s ballroom. Below her, the audience shouts insults and pornographic obscenities. Among these spectators is Napoleon’s physician and the most famous naturalist in Europe, the Baron George Cuvier, whose encounter with her will inspire a theory of race that will change European science forever.

Evoking the grand tradition of such “monster” tales as Frankenstein and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Barbara Chase Riboud, prize-winning author of the classic Sally Hemings, again gives voice to an “invisible” of history. In this powerful saga, Sarah Baartman, for more than 200 years known only as the mysterious lady in the glass cage, comes vividly and unforgettably to life.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Barbara Chase-Riboud

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Barbara Chase-Riboud is a Carl Sandburg Prize-winning poet and the prize-winning author of four acclaimed, widely translated historical novels, the bestselling Sally Hemings, Valide: A Novel of the Harem, Echo of Lions (about the Amistad mutiny), and The President's Daughter. She is a winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and received a knighthood in arts and letters from the French government in 1996. Chase-Riboud is also a renowned sculptor whose award-winning monuments grace Lower Manhattan. She is a rare living artist honored with a personal exhibition, "The Monument Drawings," in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Born and raised in Philadelphia, of Canadian American descent, she is the recipient of numerous fellowships and honorary degrees. She divides her time among Paris, Rome and the United States.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Anchor. 338 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hottentot Venus

Publishers Weekly

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What makes the story, and Sarah's life, more bearable are the tender scenes with Alice, Sarah's English governess who stays with her and truly cares for her.

| Read Full Review of Hottentot Venus: A Novel

The Copperfield Review

Telling the story of Sarah Baartman, a personage little known, is definitely one goal.

May 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Hottentot Venus: A Novel

Reader Rating for Hottentot Venus
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