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Mr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo
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Mr. Loverman

by Bernardine Evaristo

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
A wonderfully poignant novel about Barry, a mid-70s Afro-Caribbean male, and his in the closet life, with Morris, his lover of 60+ years, and his disfunctional marriage with Carmel. Both Barry and Carmel draw you into their lives and both are told with humour and pathos. All works out in the end. Uplifting and joyful ( )
  sianpr | Mar 19, 2017 |
Barrington Walker is a 74-year-old Antiguan who has lived in Hackney, East London, for the past 50 years. He is married to long-suffering Carmel and has two grown-up daughters. A flamboyant dresser, he enjoys the local nightlife with his best friend Morris. Barrington – or Barry for short – narrates most of the novel, and while he is very open with us, the reader, he hasn’t been so open to his wife and the others that are close to him, as he leads a double life, having been in a secret relationship with Morris for 60 years.

Barry’s narrative is warm and funny, and he regales us with his adventures in his own very unique tone of voice – a bit of Shakespeare here, a touch of patois there… We find out a lot about his character from what he tells us, but we also get his rather one-sided opinions of others in the story, particularly Carmel, who he is none too complimentary about.

But then in between Barry’s narrative are shorter passages from Carmel herself, starting from 1960 and working forwards ten years at a time to bring us up-to-date in 2010. These sections of the book are written as a kind of stream-of-consciousness, with very short paragraphs and little punctuation. At first this grated on me as the style seemed unnecessary and I just wanted to get back to Barry’s witty narrative. But actually I soon realised that Carmel’s sections threw light on the whole story, telling us more about why she is as she is, and giving us an insight into her own life – which isn’t without its own secrets. The different style of writing separated these sections nicely from Barry’s, and by the end I enjoyed Carmel’s chapters as much as Barry’s, but for different reasons.

I really loved this novel. It was warm and moving, and full of witty one-liners. Barrington is such a unique character, who is loveable despite his faults. I found myself rooting for him, and you feel like you’ve really got know him over the course of the book.

I’m going to give this book the full 10 out of 10 as I can’t really fault it, and I would definitely read it again. ( )
  AHouseOfBooks | Jan 27, 2016 |
The main character in this book – Barry – describes himself as “the great mood elevator…The Human Valium” and I have to be honest, I agree with him.
I wasn’t really looking forward to this book and didn’t know what to expect but I was really surprised to find myself sitting there at 3am in the morning just saying one more chapter, one more chapter…
It is narrated by both Barry and his wife Carmel and flicks back and forth in their time together and apart both in Antigua and London since the 1950s. It addresses their relationship and their family when they have reached their seventies. Having both their points of view was really clever of the author as it balances out the story and makes sure that Barry as the main character is seen as the poor husband with the unimaginable wife as quite a few other books tend to.
The whole idea of morality is questioned through this family and whether doing the right thing by society is doing the right thing for ourselves. Barry and his partner Morris show us that even our own conception of our individual selves can be biased without even knowing it. For example, it is quite shocking how Barry perceives the gay community in London despite being a part of it for fifty years and shows how he has been pretending for so long that he is just an ordinary family man that he has taken on the societal view that it is wrong to be gay without even noticing how absurd that makes him.
The character Barry is humorous and quirky in his happy go lucky way but does reek of selfishness in several parts which can be frustrating.
Overall, this book surrounds family. When is it OK for an individual to pull themselves away from the ‘we’ of the family and become an ‘I’? And is this a constructive or destructive thing for the family as a whole.
The touches of nostalgia in this book are lovely and the construction of the scenes (particularly the scenes between Barry and Morris) are not seedy and over the top as is the trend at the moment but quite touching at times and just about right for the tone of the book. I will certainly be looking out for more from this author in the future.
( )
  SineadB | Dec 7, 2015 |
The main character in this book – Barry – describes himself as “the great mood elevator…The Human Valium” and I have to be honest, I agree with him.
I wasn’t really looking forward to this book and didn’t know what to expect but I was really surprised to find myself sitting there at 3am in the morning just saying one more chapter, one more chapter…
It is narrated by both Barry and his wife Carmel and flicks back and forth in their time together and apart both in Antigua and London since the 1950s. It addresses their relationship and their family when they have reached their seventies. Having both their points of view was really clever of the author as it balances out the story and makes sure that Barry as the main character is seen as the poor husband with the unimaginable wife as quite a few other books tend to.
The whole idea of morality is questioned through this family and whether doing the right thing by society is doing the right thing for ourselves. Barry and his partner Morris show us that even our own conception of our individual selves can be biased without even knowing it. For example, it is quite shocking how Barry perceives the gay community in London despite being a part of it for fifty years and shows how he has been pretending for so long that he is just an ordinary family man that he has taken on the societal view that it is wrong to be gay without even noticing how absurd that makes him.
The character Barry is humorous and quirky in his happy go lucky way but does reek of selfishness in several parts which can be frustrating.
Overall, this book surrounds family. When is it OK for an individual to pull themselves away from the ‘we’ of the family and become an ‘I’? And is this a constructive or destructive thing for the family as a whole.
The touches of nostalgia in this book are lovely and the construction of the scenes (particularly the scenes between Barry and Morris) are not seedy and over the top as is the trend at the moment but quite touching at times and just about right for the tone of the book. I will certainly be looking out for more from this author in the future.
( )
  SineadB | Dec 7, 2015 |
The main character in this book – Barry – describes himself as “the great mood elevator…The Human Valium” and I have to be honest, I agree with him.
I wasn’t really looking forward to this book and didn’t know what to expect but I was really surprised to find myself sitting there at 3am in the morning just saying one more chapter, one more chapter…
It is narrated by both Barry and his wife Carmel and flicks back and forth in their time together and apart both in Antigua and London since the 1950s. It addresses their relationship and their family when they have reached their seventies. Having both their points of view was really clever of the author as it balances out the story and makes sure that Barry as the main character is seen as the poor husband with the unimaginable wife as quite a few other books tend to.
The whole idea of morality is questioned through this family and whether doing the right thing by society is doing the right thing for ourselves. Barry and his partner Morris show us that even our own conception of our individual selves can be biased without even knowing it. For example, it is quite shocking how Barry perceives the gay community in London despite being a part of it for fifty years and shows how he has been pretending for so long that he is just an ordinary family man that he has taken on the societal view that it is wrong to be gay without even noticing how absurd that makes him.
The character Barry is humorous and quirky in his happy go lucky way but does reek of selfishness in several parts which can be frustrating.
Overall, this book surrounds family. When is it OK for an individual to pull themselves away from the ‘we’ of the family and become an ‘I’? And is this a constructive or destructive thing for the family as a whole.
The touches of nostalgia in this book are lovely and the construction of the scenes (particularly the scenes between Barry and Morris) are not seedy and over the top as is the trend at the moment but quite touching at times and just about right for the tone of the book. I will certainly be looking out for more from this author in the future. ( )
  SineadB | Dec 7, 2015 |
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"Barrington Jedidiah Walker is seventy-four and leads a double life. Born and bred in Antigua, he's lived in Hackney, London, for years. A flamboyant character with a fondness for William Shakespeare, Barrington is a husband, father, grandfather--and also secretly gay. With an abundance of laugh-out-loud humor and wit, Mr. Loverman explodes cultural myths and shows the extent of what can happen when people fear the consequences of being true to themselves. His deeply religious and disappointed wife, Carmel, thinks he sleeps with other women. When their marriage goes into meltdown, Barrington wants to divorce Carmel and live with Morris, but after a lifetime of fear and deception, will he manage to break away? With an abundance of laugh-out-loud humor and wit, Mr. Loverman explodes cultural myths and shows the extent of what can happen when people fear the consequences of being true to themselves"--Amazon.com, viewed February 21, 2014.… (more)

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