Bernadine Evaristo - Island of Abraham
Amma Nkrumah, The Weekly Journal
This debut poetry collection is a powerhouse of succinct prose that paints haunting pictures.
Evaristo opens with an ancestral homage that gently chides hungry tourists whose primary concern is the strength of the sun in Africa, but who fail to see the continent’s beauty. She dips easily into the past, without sentimentality, but provokes sadness from the reader. You share her feelings of exile in ‘The Girl Who Kept On Staring’, but you also share her affection and pain in the rich prose that depicts her experiences on a journey to Madagascar.
The beauty of Island of Abraham is that her undoubted skill means reading the collection would take about as long as a tube ride from one end of the Victoria line to another. What’s more, her razor-sharp observations will lift you from the sardine-like tube compartments, at least temporarily, and make you feel that you’re right beside her. Her dual Nigerian/English heritage is also given a thoughtful airing, offering an insight into the reactions of people towards someone of mixed race. Evaristo’s progress will clearly be worth monitoring, and this initial work is a delight that shows her as an emerging talent on the growing poetry scene.
This review relates to the book
Island of Abraham
by Bernardine Evaristo