Girl, Woman, Other

Girl, Woman, Other

A Novel

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."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Black Cat, [2019]
ISBN: 9780802156983
Branch Call Number: EVA
Characteristics: 452 pages ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Crackling with energy, emotion and wit, this 2019 Booker prize winner teams with the voices and stories of 12 diverse characters- Black, British and mostly women - and how their lives intersect in different ways. It also offers a unique look at the social landscape of modern Britain underwritten ... Read More »


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y
yoj
Oct 14, 2020

Beautiful, unique, different voices. A nice change from the usual and a very sympathetic telling of their stories.

r
rosinasavino
Oct 12, 2020

Ok, so I expected to be in awe of this book, and instead I felt let down. I would not say this is a terribly written book, or that I was bored etc. I would give it 3 stars. My issue was the number of people reading it and raving about it I think impacted on my judgement because I went in thinking this was going to be one of the best books I will read. The book takes us through the lives of a number of women in Britain. Mostly black women who have come from abusive relationships or experienced significant trauma. A number of women identify as LGBTIQ+ and we get to hear the point of view form a person identifying as non-binary. For me, I felt that as soon as I was involved in a story, we were on to the next one and I was forgetting about characters who would then pop up in later stores. I would have preferred say three stories instead of 12 (I think that’s the number). The writing style is quite different i.e. grammar is used differently and at times I enjoyed the unique writing style, and other times I was more focused on that than the story. Overall, not the worst book I have read, but I can’t give it the rave review so many others do.

JCLJenV Oct 09, 2020

A very unique book written in a condensed prose with casual punctuation. A character study of young and old black women in all life stages living in Britain. Each chapter tells the depth of a woman’s story and sometimes the characters overlap in future chapters. Once I got used to the writing style, after a few chapters, I grew to love this book. The author has created such a multi-layered look at what it means to be black and British.

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fionajay
Sep 01, 2020

As an insight on the lives of Black immigrants to the U.K. over generations, this is an eye-opener. It's also a wonderful treatise on the lives of women, and the culture of London, from the 1950s to the present. Watch this book in the next award round, the Women's Prize for Fiction, 9 September 2020.

c
Colleenita
Aug 22, 2020

Unexpectedly disappointing - more literal than literary, quite spelled-out and heavy-handed. Important content and stories but too simply descriptive.

r
rosemaryleslie
Aug 19, 2020

I had no idea what this book was about when I bought it - just because I was desperate to read something new during COVID! I slowly got into it and ended up really enjoying the whole novel.

The author has a beautiful writing style. I am a grammar nut and even so, the lack of punctuation did not bother me - the sentences were so well constructed that they flowed well and were even designed differently according to their content and the speaker. The other part of her style of jumping from character to character kept me interested, although by the end when some characters were brought back, I had forgotten who they were since there were so many people intertwined together in these stories.

The best thing about this book, I felt, was how the author made you feel like you were living in Britain, knew London well or the smaller towns, and most of all, really got you to feel like you had known these people or people much like them in your life...which I must say, I have! So, I felt very comfortable reading this book and at the same time learned more about the different lifestyles, occupations and social interactions that are out there in the world...awesome!

k
Kalira
Jul 22, 2020

This book wasn't quite what I expected - a bit more of a collection of disparate character studies, rather than anything more plot-directed, despite the interwoven threads of the character's lives. That interweaving was really intriguing, I love seeing people from different angles and points of view, and the way they crossed and recrossed each others' lives was so well done and fascinating.

There were some content notes I would have appreciated knowing about beforehand, honestly (infidelity, drugs, quite a few sexual violence happenings or references, some of which were handled in such a way that skirted very near triggers for me).

The poetry-prose hybrid style gave it a unique feel. Personally the lack of any full stops anywhere in the book, and the likewise lack of anything to denote beginnings or ends of sentences, made it tiring to read at times. The use of linebreaks midsentence and as a stylistic point was really well done practically everywhere it was used and had a good impact.

I didn't like the book, but it was interesting. I winced through some portions of it (large swathes of Morgan's story, for example) and while sometimes the uncomfortable or bigoted/judgemental views seemed true to characters' perspectives, sometimes there seemed to be something bleeding through from the author's perspective herself.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jul 16, 2020

I loved the sweeping scope of this novel that illustrates, through multiple interwoven narratives, the scope of experience of black women in the UK. As an American reader who has read a significant amount of African American fiction, the commonalities and differences of this experience were FASCINATING. Super well written and worthy of its 2019 Booker Prize win!

f
felixoscar1040
Jul 12, 2020

Strange book. I read for book club. If I had just started it on my own, I likely would have read the first chapter and tossed it. It is basically a novel made up of loosely related short stories about 12 women. Some of those short stories are excellent, so I’m glad I read it for those.

b
betsymarzoni
Jul 11, 2020

The language of Evaristo's novel is so beautiful, part poetry and part prose. She introduces us to 12 different Black women in England, each with her own chapter and more amazingly, each with her own VERY distinctive voice and character. Through their stories we explore the evolving roles of women and attitudes towards them for a span of more than 100 years. Many of the characters are intertwined and we see the relationships evolve and grow, or not. There are surprises. There are many discussions of feminism. It was fascinating and deep and very difficult to put down.

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Kalira
Jul 22, 2020

Other: Drug-use, infidelity, racism and sexism (as expected) of a wide range of intensities. Mention (sometimes disparaging) of eating disorders and self-hatred, self-harm, suicidal thoughts.

k
Kalira
Jul 22, 2020

Sexual Content: Sex and sexual fantasies, almost all from a female perspective, towards/with partners men, women, NB. Varying in level of explicit detail.

k
Kalira
Jul 22, 2020

Violence: Abuse, both threatened and actual, from parents and partners. Rape, including a gang-rape of a thirteen-year-old, from her perspective.

k
Kalira
Jul 22, 2020

Coarse Language: A wide range, including slurs and verbal abuse, from strangers and within friends/family groups.

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