This book covers all Bernardine Evaristo's major works: Lara (1997) and Lara (2009), The Emperor's Babe, Soul Tourists, Blonde Roots and Hello Mum. Each chapter focuses on a particular novel, combining a close analysis of the author's technique with a penetrating understanding of the basic themes which underlie all of Evaristo's work. This monograph exposes that Evaristo is not simply interested in multicultural issues; to label them as such is to overlook her achievement as a novelist. It shows instead how Evaristo combines apparently disparate elements - for example, historical research with late-twentieth century allusions in a narrative such as The Emperor's Babe - to show how African-Caribbeans have been coming to Britain for thousands of years. Yet Evaristo is not just interested in the African-Caribbean experience; this book shows how she tries to question those basic concepts - for example Englishness or patriotism - which lie at the heart of mainstream white culture in contemporary Britain. It argues that Evaristo is interested in alternative constructions - not only of nationalism, but of other basic issues such as race, gender and class. Her books give the chance for hitherto marginalized characters - slaves, women, or victims of a patriarchal world - to tell their stories and postulate alternative views of the world they live in. Above all, this monograph shows how Evaristo refuses to be pigeon-holed; she is not simply a black British writer, but someone who focuses on the interconnectedness of society. This book calls for readers to adopt a more enlightened approach, not only to issues of culture and identity, but to the work of Evaristo as a whole.
About the Author: Sebnem Toplu is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and the Department Head of English Translation Studies at Ege University, Izmir, Turkey. Her other books include Cultural Materialism: Text and Context Relation in Jane Austen's Works (2001) and Diverse Aspects of Italy and Italians in Contemporary British Literature (2001), both published by Universita degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy, where she lectured as Visiting Professor for three years. She has published articles on eighteenth-century British literature, contemporary British fiction, postcolonialism, autobiography, multiculturalism, transnationalism and ecocriticism. She has been the editor of the journal Interactions since 2002.