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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (133 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Chase-Riboud Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2016 ISBN: 9781440760679
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Paris, 1815. An extraordinarily shaped South African girl known as the Hottentot Venus, dressed only in feathers and beads, swings from a crystal chandelier in the duchess of Berry’s ballroom. Below her, the audience shouts insults and pornographic obscenities. Among these spectators is Napoleon’s physician and the most famous naturalist in Europe, the Baron George Cuvier, whose encounter with her will inspire a theory of race that will change European science forever.

Evoking the grand tradition of such “monster” tales as Frankenstein and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Barbara Chase-Riboud, prize-winning author of the classic Sally Hemings, again gives voice to an “invisible” of history. In this powerful saga, Sarah Baartman, for more than 200 years known only as the mysterious lady in the glass cage, comes vividly and unforgettably to life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Kudos to Chase-Riboud for exploring this story of oppression and for humanizing a woman who was virtually regarded as an animal, according to the ideology of the day.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Praise to Chase-Riboud for her total immersion in the spirit of Sarah Baartman.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kimberly | 12/13/2013

    " It was all right. Good story, but it wasn't easy to keep up with who was talking or even IF someone was actually talking. I wouldn't recommend it, but feel free to read it if you're interested. *chuckles* "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marion | 8/16/2013

    " just couldn't get into subject..didn't finish "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie | 6/9/2013

    " In 1800s Europe, a young African girl is put on display as the Hottentot Venus. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sophia Walker | 4/18/2013

    " This book made me sad. I was disturbed by the perceptions of blacks but realize that some people still feel that way today. The main character lived a horrible life and her death was no better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Armena | 4/2/2013

    " I got this book as a gift because someone told me I was shaped physically like the women in this text, I was insulted, however after reading this book i gained a new level of appreciation for my shape and I'm honor to be associated with such extraordinary women. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dragonfly0628 | 12/30/2012

    " Sarah Bartman is a strong, intelligent woman who is put through the unthinkable for absurd and obscure ends. She is an inspiration. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leena | 10/2/2012

    " Amazing story that exposes objectification. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 9/4/2012

    " Moving historical, biographical fiction novel about race, ethics, and humanity. Although the ending is a little long-winded, it is a compelling character-driven book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Arlene | 1/17/2012

    " Did not care too much for this story. Thought I would have found it interestind due to South Africa and the natives....no. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol | 5/10/2011

    " Heartbreaking story of Saartjie Baartman, South African Hottentot woman taken to England under false pretense of marriage, but in reality to be gawked at a freakshow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eileen | 3/26/2011

    " Disturbing true tale of a time in history where it was perfectly acceptable to exploit a person publicly for money. Very well written, sympathetic and eye opening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 1/18/2011

    " Well-written and incredibly thought-provoking. Throughout my reading of the book, I couldn't help but think about the exploitation of the scantily dressed women you see dancing in so many of today's music videos. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kimberly | 10/8/2010

    " It was all right. Good story, but it wasn't easy to keep up with who was talking or even IF someone was actually talking. I wouldn't recommend it, but feel free to read it if you're interested. *chuckles* "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol | 7/20/2009

    " Heartbreaking story of Saartjie Baartman, South African Hottentot woman taken to England under false pretense of marriage, but in reality to be gawked at a freakshow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 10/13/2008

    " Well-written and incredibly thought-provoking. Throughout my reading of the book, I couldn't help but think about the exploitation of the scantily dressed women you see dancing in so many of today's music videos. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie | 7/19/2008

    " In 1800s Europe, a young African girl is put on display as the Hottentot Venus. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dragonfly0628 | 3/18/2008

    " Sarah Bartman is a strong, intelligent woman who is put through the unthinkable for absurd and obscure ends. She is an inspiration. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eileen | 1/9/2008

    " Disturbing true tale of a time in history where it was perfectly acceptable to exploit a person publicly for money. Very well written, sympathetic and eye opening. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Armena | 7/26/2007

    " I got this book as a gift because someone told me I was shaped physically like the women in this text, I was insulted, however after reading this book i gained a new level of appreciation for my shape and I'm honor to be associated with such extraordinary women. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 7/7/2007

    " Moving historical, biographical fiction novel about race, ethics, and humanity. Although the ending is a little long-winded, it is a compelling character-driven book. "

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About the Author
Author Barbara Chase-Riboud

Barbara Chase-Riboud won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best novel by an American woman for Sally Hemings. A widely exhibited and acclaimed sculptor as well as a writer, her novels include Echo of Lions and The President’s Daughter. She divides her time between Paris and the United States.