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Girl, Woman, Other

by Bernardine Evaristo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2477811,298 (4.29)216
"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. Sparklingly witty and filled with emotion, centering voices we often see othered, and written in an innovative and fast-moving form that borrows from poetry, Girl, Woman, Other is a polyphonic and richly textured social novel that reminds us of everything that connects us to our neighbors, even in times when we are encouraged to be split apart"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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» See also 216 mentions

English (70)  Dutch (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Booker Prize 2019 ( )
  Overgaard | Jan 22, 2021 |
A polyphonic novel about the life of twelve black women in Britain across generations. It starts with Amma, a playwright, preparing on her opening night at the National Theater. The characters who happened to watch the show then became entwined through family, friends, or diaspora. Depicting a broad spectrum of women, this book provides what has never been portrayed before in literary fiction.⁣

All characters are very contrasted with each other that they have their own distinct voice. I admire Evaristo's take on each characters' voice, especially Yazz. Evaristo captured the voice of an undergraduate student in the current political climate accurately. But some main characters are hard for me to care about than the side ones. Not that I dislike them, but as a usual short story collection, sometimes there are stories don't make an impression. I also find some of the side characters are interesting enough to be explored more. ⁣Maybe worth a sequel?

The writing is exceptional; I love the hybrid form of prose and poetry with no punctuation marks. Once you get comfortable with it, the writing flows effortlessly, like going into the jumble of the characters' minds. But this could be a double-edged sword; it'll confuse some readers and take a while to get used to it. I love how Evaristo name drops her inspiration for a particular chapter, such as Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique as the central theme of Penelope's chapter. ⁣

"the so-called democratization of reviews means the lowering of standards, and that subject knowledge, history, and critical context are at risk of being lost in favour of people who only know how to write in attention-seeking soundbites."⁣

This is only an example of how well-written the dialogues are. We're immersed in the characters' thought-provoking discussion about important issues such as the convergence of media, discrimination, inequality, identity. It makes me think about the struggle of being a woman, especially a black woman in the UK. We have a different life and struggle that we should be more empathetic with each other.

This book lives up to the hype, I'd recommend this to everyone. And it deserves the booker prize alone! ( )
  bellacrl | Jan 19, 2021 |
I have been incredibly keen to read this since it (co) won the Booker Prize, but somehow it kept getting pushed aside by other books. It is a perspective of women's lives in Britain I have never seen before. Each chapter tells the story of a different woman who all end up interconnected in some way. The group is varied by race, generation, gender identity, sexual orientation, political views, and socio-economic background. I haven't read anything about a black woman prior to contemporary times, so my knowledge of how these women were treated by society was completely non-existent. For the perspective of a black woman early in the early 20th century alone was enough to make this a worthwhile read. I loved the variety of perspectives in the generations. Each character was incredibly unique but also memorable. A worthy winner of the Booker. ( )
  boldforbs | Jan 15, 2021 |
Every section builds on the other, even when you don't see it and by the end, I didn't want it to end. I audibly gasped at one point because I KNEW what was coming! Evaristo does not disappoint. Her style is different but easy to sink in to.
Definitely deserving of the Booker! ( )
  RachellErnst | Jan 5, 2021 |
Amazing book. Stories about women in England. Some cross over of characters. Really good book. ( )
  shazjhb | Jan 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Evaristo, Bernardineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bravery, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campbell, AliCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nabirye, Anna-MariaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Singh, KaranCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the sisters & the sistas & the sistahs & the sistren & the women & the womxn & the wimmin & the womyn & our brethren & our bredrin & our brothers & our bruvs & our men & our mandem & the LGBTQI+ members of the human family.
First words
Amma

is walking along the promenade of the waterway that bisects her city, a few early morning barges cruise slowly by

to her left is the nautical-themed footbridge with its deck-like walkway and sailing mast pylons

to her right is the bend in the river as it heads east past Waterloo Bridge towards the dome of St Paul's

she feels the sun begin to rise, the air still breezy before the city clogs up with heat and fumes

a violinist plays something suitably uplifting further along the promenade

Amma's play, The Last Amazon of Dahomey, opens at the National tonight
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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. Sparklingly witty and filled with emotion, centering voices we often see othered, and written in an innovative and fast-moving form that borrows from poetry, Girl, Woman, Other is a polyphonic and richly textured social novel that reminds us of everything that connects us to our neighbors, even in times when we are encouraged to be split apart"--Provided by publisher.

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Book description
Teeming with energy, humour and heart, a love song to black Britain told by twelve very different people.

Winner of the Booker Prize 2019.

Grace is a Victorian orphan dreaming of the mysterious African father she will never meet.

Winsome is a young Windrush bride, recently arrived from Barbados.

Amma is the fierce queen of her 1980s squatters' palace.

Morgan, who used to be Megan, is blowing up on social media, the newest activist-influencer on the block.

Twelve very different people, mostly black and female, more than a hundred years of change, and one sweeping, vibrant, glorious portrait of contemporary Britain. Bernardine Evaristo presents a gloriously new kind of history for this old country: ever-dynamic, ever-expanding and utterly irresistible.
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