Girl, Woman, Other

Girl, Woman, Other

Book - 2019
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"Girl, Woman, Other is a celebration of the diversity of Black British experience. Moving, hopeful, and inventive, this extraordinary novel is a vivid portrait of the state of contemporary Britain and the legacy of Britain's colonial history in Africa and the Caribbean. The twelve central characters of this multi-voiced novel lead vastly different lives: Amma is a newly acclaimed playwright whose work often explores her black lesbian identity; her old friend Shirley is a teacher, jaded after decades of work in London's funding-deprived schools; Carole, one of Shirley's former students, works hard to earn a degree from Oxford and becomes an investment banker; Carole's mother Bummi works as a cleaner and worries about her daughter's lack of rootedness despite her obvious achievements. From a nonbinary social media influencer to a 93-year-old woman living on a farm in Northern England, these unforgettable characters also intersect in shared aspects of their identities, from age to race to sexuality to class."--
Publisher: New York : Black Cat, [2019]
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780802156983
Branch Call Number: EVARI
Characteristics: 452 pages ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

Co-winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize, Anglo-Nigerian writer Evaristo has written a courageous and intersectional novel that explores Black British identity and unfolds in a single night, or over the course of 100 years, through a series of interconnected stories about 12 characters.

From the critics

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Jun 22, 2020

Winner of the 2019 Booker prize, this is a deeply empathetic, nuanced, and probing exploration of identity in 21st century London, where a group of loosely connected women deal with gender, sexuality, race, culture, and work. Great example of intersectionality in fiction (without being preachy).

Jun 18, 2020

Couldn't bring myself to get past the middle of the second chapter.

May 21, 2020

this was a really lovely exploration of black individuals in the UK. 11 of the characters followed are women and one is a non-binary person who uses they/them pronouns. it was really refreshing to read about such a variety of people; many of these characters are queer, and some are even non-monogamous. the term polyamory is also explicitly used! it was really lovely to see these kinds of relationships normalized.

this is essentially a series of overlapping short stories, each focused on an individual character. these characters are all interconnected, in ways that become increasingly clear as the book moves forward. there was one real WOW moment at the end that got me right in the gut. i was impressed at how well Evaristo layered these stories and built such a rich, real story.
she wishes her mother was alive to enjoy her new life

my only complaint is really that the breadth of characters makes it difficult to follow. by the time a character was mentioned again, i would sometimes forget them or important information about them. i also found the first half of the book a little difficult to connect with. it was highly readable, but not extraordinary compelling. luckily, that changed in the second half, which i read in one day, unable to put the book down.

i think this is a really important book and i'm glad it's gotten so much recognition! i'll definitely be recommending it to others.

CALS_Lee Apr 09, 2020

The style of a different character being the focus of each chapter is not one I’m a big fan of generally, but other than that this book has a lot going for it - well written with a style just unusual enough to be interesting, empathy for all its characters, telling the story of black British women through several generations, engaging contemporary questions of gender and sexuality in a compelling way. And just see if you don't mist up a bit on the final page.

Co-winner of the Booker Prize with Margaret Atwood's "The Testaments", but so much better than that book.

Mar 16, 2020

Interlinked stories of 12 women of diverse ages, class backgrounds, ethnicities and sexualities. Enjoyed.

liljables Mar 03, 2020

You might recognize this book as the novel that co-won the 2019 Booker Prize, along with Margaret Atwood's follow-up to The Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments. Much was said about the controversial decision to break tradition and choose two winners; namely, the first EVER black woman to win the Booker had to share the title (and the £50,000 prize). Having read both books, I can say that for me, Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other is the superior read by a long-shot.

Girl, Woman, Other is divided into twelve chapters, each of which follows a different character - mostly female, mostly black, and mostly British. Each story is a slice of life, and while there is no primary, overarching plot, the chapters tell interwoven stories. They're grouped into threes where the relationships are most obvious (for example, a mother, a daughter, and the mother's best friend), but you'll see familiar faces and places throughout the twelve chapters.

I'm not going to be coy: I LOVED this novel. The polyphonic narrative really worked for me, and I was impressed throughout at how distinct each character's voice was. In a way, it reminded me of Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing*, in the sense that each chapter introduced a new character that was linked to the previous chapter; however, where Gyasi's narrative was linear, Evaristo leaps back and forth through time, often introducing us to a young woman and then her mother, grandmother, or teacher in their youth. As each chapter began, I found myself looking for the thread that would connect this new section to those before, especially if the link was subtle or tenuous. I fell in love with every character, and I know this is a novel I'll read again.

*Please do yourself a favour and read Homegoing!

Feb 24, 2020

An unprecedented & prodigious symphony of a novel! When I initially read about the non-conformist formatting, I wasn't sure how I would adapt; however, I was immediately seduced and found it profoundly unfettering. Bernardine is a mesmerizing Storyteller and this book illustrates her mastery with an incredible plot encompassing 12 characters whose voices are beguiling, raw, and unfeigned in ways that left me thunderstruck and staggered. And if that wasn't enough she brings it all home with one of the most heartwarming and optimistic endings I've read in an exceedingly long time. This book is a celebration of Women in all shades of their Blackness, in all their trials and all their exquisiteness and beyond that, it's a rallying cry for the Truth of Oneness. A MUST READ...

Feb 18, 2020

I loved this book! It's like a contemporary Mrs. Dalloway, for black women. Each character's little vignette is fairly simple, which was perfect as it enabled the characters to dominate the story instead of being overshadowed by the plot. They're all very different but Evaristo does each of them justice, making them feel like fleshed out, three-dimensional people instead of stock characters.

Ideally, I would have liked a little more attention given to the character Yazz, as she came dangerously close to being a millennial stereotype that doesn't reflect the lived experiences of most millennials I know. I still really enjoyed this book, I just would have liked to see this one chapter strengthened. It's a minor offence and the rest of the book more than makes up for it.

STPL_JessH Jan 18, 2020

Controversial opinion coming at ya my friends: Bernadine Evaristo was robbed. ROBBED, I say. Girl, Woman, Other is leagues above that other book that also "won" the Booker award this year. By above, I mean in an entirely different category and in no way similar or comparable. 

Girl, Woman, Other, is a tour de force of passion, innovation, and precision. I was absolutely stunned by the sheer scope and range of character(s) in this novel. It's not the quantity that impressed me, but rather the beautifully constructed quality of people who fill these pages.

There is a lyrical and poetic element to the structure of the prose. It is at once striking and subtle in a way I am not sure I can properly articulate. The lack of periods suggests a kind of continuum of experience: these people continue to exist alongside each other, in separate and unique stories, while blending together into a collective consciousness. They disagree, with themselves and each other, and oscillate between confrontation and resignation. Evaristo's characters are compelling and memorable in a way I seldom encounter. There is so much life and spirit and heartache here: it is as though the whole world exists within these pages. I will most definitely need to reread this novel to really absorb all that it has to offer.

In case it is not clear, I highly recommend this book.

PawsFurBooks Jan 07, 2020

This book is lovely and heart-wrenching in the most positive and necessary way possible. Because sometimes we need to see and read and hear about the terrible things in the world so that we can appreciate all the good and work towards making the world better (in whatever large or small way possible). This book shows several different women in the UK overcoming social and political obstacles and achieving their version of happiness. Through these women, we see heartache, abuse, resilience, and love - so much love. The format of the book is kinda odd at first because it's lyrical prose written in a poetic style. But IT WORKS. It works so well with the stories and the flow of the book - it's kind of hypnotizing. Highly recommend!

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