[#DecolonizeBookshelves2022] Zuleika’s Gilded Cage as “The Emperor’s Babe”

Myra here.

The Emperor’s Babe [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Bernardine Evaristo Published by Penguin (2020, first published 2001) ISBN: 0241989841 (ISBN13: 9780241989845) Bought a copy of the book. Book quotes and layout via Canva and Typorama.

This is the eleventh book that I am reviewing / featuring as part of our #DecolonizeBookshelves2022 reading theme from my target list of 25 books (for this year) from This Is The Canon: Decolonize Your Bookshelf In 50 Books (Amazon | Book Depository) – and the ninth novel written by a female author.

My book log indicates that I started reading the book on July 07 while in New York and finished it on July 12 while in California.

I read, enjoyed, and reviewed Bernardine Evaristo’s award-winning Girl Woman Other (Amazon | Book Depository), so I was looking forward to reading this book written as a novel-in-verse. It may just be the timing or where I am at this point in my life, but I did not find myself connecting with the story as much as I expected. I felt that there was more attention focused on the poetic form (keeping the couplet structure throughout the narrative) rather than the actual storytelling.

I actually enjoyed the sections where the author broke out of the couplet style and just ‘freestyled’ her way through her narration. I think Evaristo may have lost me somewhere in the middle to three-fourths of the story, then there was the twist towards the end that made me fear for Zuleika’s fate, but this is a largely light-hearted tale, despite the piercing underpinnings of female subservience and the weapons Zuleika learned to use to unshackle both her spirit and physical body from subservience.

I also admired the inventiveness of using poetry and modern-day witticisms to what is ostensibly a story set during ancient times. It feels like a story that may have evolved from a writing workshop gone wild. I am glad to be featuring mostly female authors from This Is The Canon list – but would most likely share a few male authors eventually.

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 73 out of target 100

July 28, 2022 at 06:31AM Myra Garces-Bacsal