Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £25.99

Buy Now for £25.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Imagine if the transatlantic slave trade was reversed.

Imagine Africans the masters and Europeans their slaves....

Now meet young Doris, living in a sleepy English cottage. One day she is kidnapped and put aboard a slave ship bound for the New World. On a strange tropical island, Doris is told she is an ugly, stupid savage. Her only purpose in life is to please her mistress. Then, as personal assistant to Bwana, Chief Kaga Konata Katamba I, she sees the horrors of the sugarcane fields. Slaves are worked to death under the blazing sun. But though she lives in chains, Doris dreams of escape - of returning home to England and those she loves....

©2020 Bernardine Evaristo (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A phenomenal book. It is so ingenious and so novel. Think The Handmaid's Tale meets Noughts and Crosses with a bit of Jonathan Swift and Lewis Carroll thrown in. This should be thought of as a feminist classic." (Women's Prize for Fiction Podcast) 

"A bold and brilliant game of counterfactual history. Evaristo keep[s] her wit and anger at a spicy simmer throughout." (Daily Telegraph)

"So human and real. Re-imagines past and present with refreshing humour and intelligence." (Guardian

What listeners say about Blonde Roots

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    62
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    66
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    59
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant reversal of historical events

If you are reading this you are probably aware that Bernadine Evaristo reimagines a world where it is the technologies of people of colour, located in the Africa continent, where the evolutionary story begins, as she constructs people from that continent as superior to all the other so-called races and it is whyte people, originating from the continent of Europe, who are at the bottom of the evolutionary pile. This means of course that white readers get a taste of enslavement from the perspective of the whyte people from Europa and, in that respect, Evaristo pulls no punches in her detailed descriptions of life on a slave ship and on the plantations.
This is a very creative and clever reversal of historical events and Evaristo goes a long way towards convincing us that the world is very different to the one In which we are currently living. It feels as if a simple geographical twist of fate is what enables the huge shift in the evolution of humankind. Some of the most chilling chapters are the ones in the centre of the book, where the whole horror of scientific racism is reimagined as a process whereby blak people are placed at the top of the evolutionary cycle and whyte people at the bottom, through a whole process of measurement and so-called anthropometrics. It’s a very scary reminder of the scientific racism of the 19th and 20th centuries and every so-called scientist should be forced to read this book, as should every schoolchild, both in Europe and in the United States. This book is an excellent introduction to the horrors of the enslavement of millions of humans, especially if you have bothered to read about these histories is before.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A feat

It made me laugh and cringe, and it didn't let me look away. Superb narration.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good but felt short-changed

Great concept for a story and supported with plenty of detail - albeit making for uncomfortable reading in places. Let down somewhat in the telling by the male narrator - too laboured - I actually found it less irritating when the audio speed was increased to x1.2 for the male voice sections.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Al
  • 02-05-22

simply swapping the races makes you think

the simple device of swapping the races, amazingly, has a huge effect on how you understand this horendous chapter of british history. well written, the story explores many of the horrific realities of the western slave trade.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An interesting and alternative slave experience

This author never fails to tell an interesting story. Blonde roots had me captured from the start. Cleverly told that sometimes I forgot it was being told from an alternative perspective of whites being enslaved and blacks as the slave masters. I enjoyed this book, if not slightly disappointed at the end where I hoped for what I felt was an abrupt ending.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thought-provoking story

Topical and shocking tale of slavery from an upside down viewpoint. It brings home the horror of history and man’s appalling treatment of his fellow man, and woman. A thoroughly gripping story of a heroine I was willing to be free.

Nicely read by both readers, although the bombast of Bwana reminded me of Chris Eubank a bit too much.