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Girl, Woman, Other

by Bernardine Evaristo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,003996,641 (4.26)1 / 270
"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 270 mentions

English (94)  Dutch (3)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Loved this! I did get a bit confused between some of the characters, but that's probably because I read it quickly. I would like to read it again, but there are so many other books to read!

I found it very easy to read and funny in a lot of places. It was another good reminder to me to give people the benefit of the doubt as I don't know their story.

Might come back and give this five stars ( )
  KWharton | Jun 15, 2022 |
A collection of character sketches/biographies of a collection of interwoven friends and acquaintances and their ancestors. It is set in England, most of the characters, black females, numerous LBGQT. Very well written and insightful. ( )
  snash | Jun 4, 2022 |
Told in 4 triads, this is a set of interwoven stories, with the women, all telling their life, their circumstances, where they are and how they got there. It is interesting how often you see the same events from more than one perspective and that people present themselves in a way that isn't always what they think.
There were a lot of interrelations between the women. Amma's best friend from school was Carol's teacher, for example. It didn't always work. Meghan/Morgan, for instance, felt like an opportunity to lecture, but it did mean that we got to hear Hattie & Grace's stories, so I could live through Meghan/Morgan to get to them.
The after party felt like a co-incidence too far. I could manage the interrelations of the various story tellers, but that most of them ended up in the same room at the National to see the opening night of a play that the first story also starts with was stretching credibility a touch too far. I did like the acknowledgement that not all women feel the same on any subject and that the trans population is a minefield. I'm not sure that the strident very oppositional approach , as represented by Meghan/Morgan, necessarily works, I find myself with Dominique there. But as Amma reminds her, she is not young any more and neither am I.
I listened to this and it was read very well. I understand that the text lacks punctuation, which I find incredibly annoying to read so this probably was the best mechanism for me to read this. I'd interested to know how the dialect portions are written. I find reading dialect hard to get into, so again, maybe audio was the best means for me in this case. ( )
  Helenliz | Apr 16, 2022 |
Written with compassion for each of the characters, all of whom were sympathetic in one way or another. Evaristo generally makes all the characters feel real, with the exception of the young people in the book - who come off as caricatures. I think Evaristo’s is well meaning here, but the trans characters particularly fall into this young person caricature trap - it’s particularly clear with these two characters Everaristo is well outside her comfort zone, and it sometimes comes across as belittling. This is my biggest gripe with the book as a whole.

There were some nice endings to each characters stories - Carole thanking Shirley and Penelope meeting Hattie, notably. But I feel I lack some closure - did nothing bad happen as a result of Winsome and Lennox, did Carole ever work through or talk about her SA, did Shirley ever shrug off some of her cynicism, etc. ( )
  MPVJ | Mar 17, 2022 |
I read this novel as a book club selection and so glad I did. The novel is essentially a collection of very loosely connected chapters, each telling the tale of a black(ish) woman in England. Each story/chapter is amazing. The character development, the gut punch when you start to deeply empathize with her after some big reveal, is life-changing. As an American, most of the black literature I've been exposed to is African-American, and this is very different. Don't be put off by the lack of capitalization or punctuation. It's an easy read and your brain will not notice (though not sure what this adds to the story at all.)

I am not sure the final chapter did what i wanted it to do. Not a let down, but still no many loose ends. I did enjoy the Epilogue though. ( )
  technodiabla | Feb 14, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
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
Quotations
when they leave uni it's gonna be with a huge debt and crazy competitions for jobs and the outrageous rental prices out there mean that her generation will have to move back home forever, which will lead to even more of them despairing of the future and what with the plant about to go shit with the United Kingdom soon to be disunited from Europe which itself is hurtling down the reactionary road and making fascism fashionable again and it's so crazy that the disgusting perma-tanned biliionaire has set a new intellectual and moral low by being president of America and basically it all means that the older generation has ruined everything and her generation is dooooooomed
this metal-haired wild creature from the bush with the piercingly feral eyes
is her mother
this is she
this is her
who cares about her colour? why on earth did Penelope ever think it mattered
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

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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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