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  • For Beginners

“Inside Madeleine” and “Mr. Loverman”

This Sunday in the New York Times Book Review, our clients, Akashic Books and Soho Press, have the marginalized covered as two of their newest books that deal with some of the more underrepresented demographics are reviewed.

Soho Press’ Inside Madeleine by Paula Bomer reflects on the female psyche, specifically focusing on the characters’ sexual and bodily identities. According to Dayna Tortorici,

“bodily control [is] a desperate expression of free will: Bomer’s characters starve themselves, stuff themselves, walk until their feet bleed, and smoke up until they cannot move. At every turn they struggle to square their strong personalities with the ritual and class-coded humiliations of being young and female.”

While Bomer’s 229 page novel may lead to grim endings and futile efforts, Bomer seems to be commenting on the societal structures that bind young women.


Akashic Books’ Mr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo chronicles the life of Barrington Jedidiah Walker, a West Indian man living in Britain. Barrington is a closeted gay man, and at 70-something years old, he’s been hiding his secret for a long time. Barrington is married to a faithful Pentecostal woman, Carmel, but is truly in love with Morris de la Roux.

Mr. Loverman, set in 2010, is replete with flashbacks of Barrington’s life. Furthermore Evaristo deepens her novel as she also incorporates flashbacks of Morris’ life. According to Ellery Washington, seamlessly

“intertwines historical and contemporary issues of race, immigration, generational divides, neighborhood gentrification, sibling rivalries, social progress, social disillusionment and, most directly, African-Caribbean sexuality.

This is rich territory — dense — and Evaristo clearly knows her subjects. So much is said, so much ground covered so quickly, that one might easily get lost in the interwoven threads if not for Evaristo’s confident control of the language, her vibrant use of humor, rhythm and poetry, and the realistic mix of Caribbean patois with both street and the Queen’s English helping to fix characters in the reader’s mind.”

Both novels, how different they are in style and content, deal with marginalized themes. It is refreshing to see these topics handled in a personalized, but unromanticized manner.

Inside Madeleine 229 pages, $16. Soho Press Purchase

Mr. Loverman 284 pages, $11.96 Akashic Books Purchase

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