Girl Woman Other Book Review

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo had been on my reading pile for months when I finally got around to reading it. Like many people, I had watched in amazement as the Booker judges made the infamous decision to award the 2019 award to both Evaristo and Atwood – a decision that violated the 2019 rules that only one author should be crowned winner could. And while the decision to ditch the rulebook and anoint two winners instead of the usual met with largely outrage, both authors accepted the verdict.

My good friend David Wade, whom I met while working on the Women’s Fiction Award in London, who now lives in Sydney, had long said it was one of his favorite books, and so when planning upcoming events for the Bondi Literary Salon Me chose Girl, Woman, Other for our February book club selection. A book that turned out to be so popular that we held two events at the same time. I finished it up the day before the Kate Mosse interview for my podcast – where we discussed the controversial Booker win.

Girl woman other book review

My biggest concern before reading Girl, Woman, Other was that I would find the writing style a little irritating. Known – and loved by many – for its “fusion fiction”, lack of periods and long sentences, it’s not a style I always like (my intense dislike of Ulysses is a case in point), but I got it from loved the page the moment I started reading.

A story tracing the lives of twelve women in what is now London, Girl, Woman, Other, is not just a nuanced look at the vignettes that make up each of the character’s lives, but an intimate and insightful exploration of the black British experience .

A vivid depiction of contemporary Britain, not often found on the pages of a book, Girl, Woman, Other, combines a powerful feminist narrative with a disregard for normal punctuation conventions and profoundly rhythmic prose. The characters are broad and beautifully flawed, and come from different backgrounds, ages, roots, class systems, occupations, families, and sexual preferences. The book explores race, identity, and class, and explores the struggles that minorities face as they journey through a society marked by white power and fragility. Evaristo seamlessly interweaves a tapestry from the lives of women that is about what it means to be black and what it means to be female.

An accessible, living and vibrant book that gives voice to the untold stories of black women – both in the UK and around the world – Girl, Woman, Other is a poetic and prose-rich story that is deeply moving, powerful and poignant and should be important reading for anyone who wants to understand more about class, race and ultimately humanity.

Buy Girls, Women, Others at, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.

further reading

This year, Bernadine Evaristo is the chair of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021. Read more about her role here. If, like me, you loved the mention of music in Girl, Woman, Other, there is a Spotify playlist that has all of the songs that Evaristo has in her novel.

Girl woman different abstract

Full of energy, humor and heart, a love song about black Great Britain that is told by twelve very different people.

Twelve very different people, mostly blacks and women, more than a hundred years of change and a full, vibrant and glorious portrait of Britain today. Bernardine Evaristo presents a wonderful new kind of story for this old country: always dynamic, always bigger and absolutely irresistible.

Bernadine Evaristo Author Bio

Bernardine Evaristo is the author of Lara, winner of the Emma Best Book Award 1999, The Emperor’s Babe and Soul Tourists. She is a former Poet in Residence at the Museum of London, and her work has been largely anthologized. She won a prestigious Arts Council Writers Award in 2000.

More Bernadine Evaristo books

Other books by Berndine Evaristo are: Blonde Roots, Mr Loverman, Hello Mum, Soul Tourists and The Emperor’s Babe.

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