The Emperor's Babe by Bernardine Evaristo

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Synopsis

Londinium, Britannia, A.D. 211. A city of slum tenements and sumptuous villas, of orgy queens, drag queens, and drama queens. A city where the currency is often sex, where children go to work at age five, and marriage is a career move. Through the bustling city we follow Zuleika, the feisty, precocious daughter of Sudanese immigrants-made-good. Married off at eleven to Felix, a rich Roman senator three times her age who is usually away on business, Zuleika drifts around his beautiful villa, bored, or sneaks out to see her old friends. Then one night at the theater, several years later, she is spotted by the visiting Roman emperor, Septimus Severus, and they begin a passionate affair.

This is the unforgettable story of Zuleika, the Emperor's Babe, told through a dazzling fusion of poetry and fiction, history and myth. Funny, playful, and erotic, Bernardine Evaristo's novel in verse is a triumph of imaginative writing and a gorgeously readable and vivid narrative.

"Readable, sexy, delicious . . . I loved this book!" (Helen Dunmore, author of A Spell of Winter)

"Evaristo's triumph is to transmute politics and history into a glittering fiction whose words leap off the page into life. Anarchic, she calls it, but brilliant would do just as well." (The Times, London)
 

About Bernardine Evaristo

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Bernardine Evaristo was born in London to a Nigerian father and an English mother. She trained as an actress and cofounded a theater company for which she wrote plays and acted. She has won numerous writing awards for prose and poetry, including the EMMA (Ethnic Multicultural Media Awards) Best Book Award for her novel Lara. She has held writing fellowships at the University of East Anglia and Barnard College.
 
Published January 1, 2001 by Viking. 272 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

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Apr 29 2002 | Read Full Review of The Emperor's Babe

Kirkus Reviews

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So she became a club kid in short order, hanging out at the ultra-hip Mount Venus nightclub with all the trannies and fashionistas and even became tight with transvestite goddess Venus herself.

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Publishers Weekly

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Employing the same narrative verse style that served her so well in her debut, Lara, British writer Evaristo travels back in time to tell the story of Zuleika, a

Feb 25 2002 | Read Full Review of The Emperor's Babe

The Guardian

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Losing It Ranjit Bolt 154pp, John Murray £9.99 The Emperor's Babe Bernardine Evaristo 261pp, Hamish Hamilton £10.99 Verse has staged a comeback in recent years - that is, the stuff that scans and rhymes, rather than poetry, which can be loaded with significance, symbols, metaphor and...

Jun 16 2001 | Read Full Review of The Emperor's Babe

Publishers Weekly

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Employing the same narrative verse style that served her so well in her debut, Lara, British writer Evaristo travels back in time to tell the story of Zuleika, a libidinous but frustrated Sudanese woman who comes of age in a Roman-conquered London in A.D.

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Publishers Weekly

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Employing the same narrative verse style that served her so well in her debut, Lara, British writer Evaristo travels back in time to tell the story of Zuleika, a

Feb 25 2002 | Read Full Review of The Emperor's Babe

Caribbean Literary Salon

Having been virtually sold by her family for the street value of her beauty, Zuleika is aware that her only power is that powerful men desire her.

Mar 06 2012 | Read Full Review of The Emperor's Babe

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