Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Winner of the Booker Prize 2019
British Book Awards Author & Fiction Book of the Year 2020
The Sunday Times #1 Bestseller
"A choral love song to black womanhood in modern Great Britain." - Elle
"Sparkling, inventive." - Sunday Times
"Weaves through time and space with crackling originality." - Vogue
"An exceptional book that unites poetry, social history, women's voices and beyond. Order it right now." - Stylist
"Evaristo's prose hums with life as characters seem to step off the page fully formed. At turns funny and sad, tender and true, this book deserves to win awards." - Red
"Brims with vitality." - FT
"Beautifully interwoven stories of identity, race, womanhood, and the realities of modern Britain. The characters are so vivid, the writing is beautiful and it brims with humanity." - Nicola Sturgeon on Twitter
From the back of the book:
This is Britain as you've never read it.
This is Britain as it has never been told.
From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, Girl, Woman, Other follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through this country and the last hundred years. They're each looking for something - a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope . . .
My Review: 4/5 stars
There was (and still is) a lot of hype surrounding this book, especially as it ties into the Black Lives Matter movement. This is how I came across it last year and added it to the list of books to read. In truth, I had trouble getting into the book as its lack of sentences struck me as a bit gimmicky and the changes in perspective meant I wasn't fully invested in one character at the start. However, as the stories progressed and started to weave together, I began to enjoy the book more and more.
Evaristo does a beautiful job of fleshing out an entire character by choosing only small vignettes of their lives in the past, present and future. Her ability to speak with the distinct voice of each of the different women is lovely and eventually, the unique structure of the sentences feels like a person speaking to you casually and relaying their story as opposed to reading a book. I found some of the characters more interesting and compelling than others, but overall, the book served as a vibrant look at a group of diverse women through time, working through their personal identities. With Evaristo's creative story-telling, it does feel like you get to understand these women, their history and the worlds they inhabit.