Not your everyday book. I’ve been asked to come up with a take on The Emperor’s Babe (by Bernardine Evaristo) for a company in London, so I stayed up late tonight re-reading it. I realize I hadn’t given it the proper recommendation a few weeks ago when I first mentioned it. It’s not just my two years of high school Latin that helped make it so enjoyable, but the fun of Evaristo’s sassy verse. An example:
I was spotted at the baths of Cheapside,
just budding, and my fate was sealed
by a man thrice my age and thrice my girth,
all at sweet eleven — even then Dad
thought I was getting past it.
Then I was sent off to a snooty Roman bitch
called Clarissa for decorum classes,
learnt how to talk, eat and fart,
how to get my amo amas amat right, and ditch
my second-generaton plebby creole.
Zuleika accepta est.
Zuleika delicata est.
Zuleika bloody goody-two shoes est.
But I dreamt of creating mosaics,
of remaking my town with bright stones and glass.
But no! Numquam! It’s not allowed.
Sure, Felix brings me presents, when he deigns
to come west. I’ve had Chinese silk, a marble
figurine from Turkey, gold earrings
shaped like dolphins, and I have the deepest
fondness for my husband, of course,
sort of, though he spills over me like dough
and I’m tempted to call Cook mid coitus
to come trim his sides so that he fits me.
Then it’s puff and Ciao, baby!
Solitudoh, solitudee, solitudargh!