[Reading] ➶ Girl, Woman, Other ➬ Bernardine Evaristo – Buyprobolan50.co.uk

Girl, Woman, Other From One Of Britain S Most Celebrated Writers Of Color, Girl, Woman, Other Is A Magnificent Portrayal Of The Intersections Of Identity And A Moving And Hopeful Story Of An Interconnected Group Of Black British Women Shortlisted For The Booker Prize And The Gordon Burn Prize, Girl, Woman, Other Paints A Vivid Portrait Of The State Of Post Brexit Britain, As Well As Looking Back To The Legacy Of Britain S Colonial History In Africa And The CaribbeanThe 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, Is A Successful 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 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 ClassSparklingly Witty And Filled With Emotion, Centering Voices We Often See Othered, And Written In An Innovative Fast Moving Form That Borrows Technique From Poetry, Girl, Woman, Other Is A Polyphonic And Richly Textured Social Novel That Shows A Side Of Britain We Rarely See, One That Reminds Us Of All That Connects Us To Our Neighbors, Even In Times When We Are Encouraged To Be Split Apart

10 thoughts on “Girl, Woman, Other

  1. says:

    Winner jointly of the 2019 Booker Prize perhaps appropriately given its closing words this is about beingtogether A book I have read and loved three times so I was delighted to be present for its win and to get these photosWhen hearing the winner announcement I immediately thought of a passage very early in the book when it says Amma then spent decades on the fringe, a renegade lobbing hand grenades at the establishment that excluded her until the mainstream began to absorb what was once radical and she found herself hopeful of joining it At the Foyles New Statesman Booker Winner reading on the Thursday of the award I asked the author if she had also reflected on that passage when the announcement was made and how it applied to her own situation Her answer was that she had in fact been reflecting on it for some time including when she was completing the book , but crucially that when she first started writing the book she did not think it was true for her at all she did not expect any positive reception from the mainstream as she did not think it had moved far enough or the book would be seen as topical enough However the metoo and blacklivesmatter movements shifted the ground significantly in her view and meant that the mainstream was ready for a black woman writing about black women.MAIN REVIEW The book is written as a series of twelve chapters, each featuring a named character These characters are Black although in one case not aware , British although in one case no longer thinking of themselves as such and Female although in one case no longer identifying as such They are however of different age, sexuality and sexual identity, formative experience, family unit structure both parental unit and their own family unit , ethnic make up, ancestral origin, shade, region, occupation, cultural background, class, and degree of activism as well as journey along the activist conventional spectrum over time.This is a novel of polyphony, polygenetics, polygenderism.But crucially it was not one that at any time I felt was a forced attempt to represent diversity but of a natural attempt to examine the core shared identity of the characters alongside their differences and their journey and crucially an attempt to give visibility to black British women in literature The author has described the style she chose to adopt here as fusion fiction a fluid form of prose poetry, with a dearth of conventional sentences with capital letter openings and full stop endingsI found this style very effective form matching content, style matching theme Evaristo has always been someone who challenges convention in art as captured in Amma the most autobiographical of the characters The fluidity of the prose enables her to range within the characters thoughts and across time, and between stories and characters.The characters are grouped in four sets of three with clear and immediate links between the characters in each set, but less obvious and emerging links between the characters in different sets.The first set has Amma a provocative theatre director , her daughter Yazz studying literature at the UEA and Dominique now based in the US but at Amma s original partner in disrupting theatrical culture.The second Carole who pulled herself from difficult origins, via a Maths degree at Oxford to a banking job in the City , Bummi her mother and La Tisha her one time schoolfriend now working in a supermarket as a young Mum of three children by three absent fathers.The third has Shirley a friend of Amma s since school, now veteran teacher whose greatest project as a teacher was Carole , Shirley s mother Winsome now retired in Barbados and Penelope a now retired colleague of Shirley s who resented the increasing multi culturalism of their school for many years, while secretly struggling with finding out on her 16th birthday she was a foundling The last has non binary Megan Morgan they are a social media influencer and activist , Hattie their great grandmother, a 90 something Northumberland farmer and Grace Hattie s mother.Thee are only the main characters though and Evaristo also brings in the backstories of their parents, their closest friends and even the parents of their closest friends She has said in an interview At one point I thought maybe I could have one hundred protagonists Toni Morrison has a quote Try to think the unthinkable That s unthinkable One hundred black women characters How can I do that I need a poetic form Now there are only twelve main characters and while adopting the poetic form the novel still retains strong elements of her centurion ambitions And the backstories are important I believe in what the author is trying to achieve From the same interview Even though I don t have a protagonist who s a young teenager, a lot of the characters went through that stage So you have a sense of who they were as children, how they became adults, and then how they are as mothers I m deeply interested in how we become the people we are Coming from a radical feminist alternative community in my 20s, and then seeing these people in their 40s and 50s, I ve seen people become extremely, almost, conservative, establishment, having lost all the free spiritedness, oppositionality and rebelliousness of their younger years To me that s fascinating When I meet young people today and they are a certain way, I think You don t know who you re going to be That feeds into the fiction How do we parent our children What are our ambitions for our children How does that link to how we were raised How does gender play out Amma is perhaps also the most central character and it is in the after party on the opening night of her first play at the National Theatre The Last of Dahomey , that the various characters and their stories converge and interact Carole as her partner is a sponsor of the National, Morgan invited to review the play by tweet for example.A final epilogue reveals a final link via an examination of hybridity of origins and finishes with the quote with which I open my review.I found this a strong novel there is polemic and challenge, but also warmth, humour and self awareness Carol s idea of bed time reading includes also monitoring the international news that affects market conditions, the weather conditions that affect crops, the terrorism that destabilizes countries, the elections that effect trading agreements, the natural disasters that can wipe out whole industries which could simply not be closer to my own work related reading, but she also comments and if it isn t related to work, it s not worth reading which could simply not be further from my own view of literature and a book like this is why wider reading is worthwhile.At the after party we are told a five star review has already been uploaded online from one usually savage pit bull of a critic who s been uncharacteristically gushing astonishing, moving, controversial, original Well as my profile picture shows I am Golden Retriever incidentally one such Humperdinck features as Penelope s loyal companion always there for her, always eagle for a cuddle, who ll listen to her for hours without interruption greets her as soon as she steps in the door than savage pit bull of a critic although I have my moments but five stars from me.

  2. says:

    Polyphonic choir of women, singing a song of life in dissonances and harmonies This may well be my favourite book of 2019, curing a stress related Reader s Block with instant effect Sharing is caring, and Bernardine Evaristo shares life experiences that stretch a century back in time and move towards our immediate, contemporary world She cares for her characters, and that results in the reader caring too I found myself identifying with a bitter school teacher, with a strong creative woman subdued by narcissistic abuse, with a teenager rebelling against successful parents, with a wallflower moving on the fringes of fashionable circles, with a needy playwright, with a gender fluid person of female biological origin, even with an old farmer and her wish to pass on the farm to a family member I identified with girls trying to heal from traumatic teenage experiences and with women who never learned how to find their own voices in the loud orchestra of patriarchy Even though one of the main themes is being a person of colour in a world of white supremacy open or hidden, depending on situation , and even though I belong to the entitled, privileged group of people who have a choice whether racism is a topic to be bothered with or not as opposed to those who have to live with the issue whether they like it or not as it is imposed on them by a dominant culture , I strongly identified with all these characters problems and issues with racism, because their stories are told with a loving, caring voice that humanises the pain and injustice.Some people me included claim that the power of writing fiction instead of fact books on relevant questions in society lies in the fact that fiction builds a relationship between the reader and the message, and that this relationship leads to empathy and a true wish for change No other book I have read recently proves that point as well as this wonderfully creative account of women in the world.Pure Literature Straight to the heart

  3. says:

    Winner of the Booker Prize 2019 together with The Testaments This panoramic, polyphonic novel reflects the lives of mostly black women in Britain, and its narrative approach could be described as literary docu fiction The 12 protagonists are all fictional, of different ages, with different cultural and social backgrounds and with different personalities, and the book provides its readers with the women s condensed life stories, packed with information, always keeping a certain observational distance, investigating their destinies like through the camera lense of a documentary filmmaker The book s characters cross paths in different ways, their individual stories employed to contrast female experiences, but also to parallel them and to highlight similarities and unifying factors While it is apparent why this is an important book that also gives a voice to women who frequently get overlooked in the representation of contemporary Britain, I have to say that I never really warmed to this text The story tends to get buried under the intention to include an extremely wide range of ideas about what it can mean to be a woman, and the author piles up characters and information when instead of even broadness, a little depth would have heightened the impact Evaristo shows women as social climbers, single mothers, sourvivors of abuse, victims of sexism and racism, lovers, wives, widows, daughters, grandmothers, VPs, teachers, cleaning women, artists, college students, school dropouts, immigrants and the children of immigrants, and in many other roles but all of her characters are fighters, in their very own way Usually, I love polyphonic novels my favorite book of 2018 was There There, which also features 12 protagonists but over long passages of Evaristo s effort, I was rather bored and felt disaffected The relentlessly descriptive re tellings of whole life stories plus the additive effect of the strict, enumerative structure feels exhausting we are introduced to one character after the other, then there s an end where they meet and an epilogue , and the narrative intent, while important, always remains visible this prose does not carry its readers away with emotion or urgency So all in all, the chapters of this novel are reminiscient of magazine articles about diverse women in Britain pretty good magazine articles, but is this great literary fiction The topic is certainly worthwhile, but this book did not convince me.

  4. says:

    Joint Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2019 On Our Own Terms or Not At All Twelve stories from twelve women.When I started reading this, the stories seemed straightforward Deceptively simple relatively harmless At face value they seemed to be about women s stuff.Was I wrong Upfront, this review will be all over the shop Bear with There is just so much going on in this book, it s a challenge for me to reflect this properly in this review.We meet women of different ages, socio economic backgrounds, educational levels, class sexual persuasions All caught up in this thing called life.What does it mean to be a woman today Does a woman now have the same hopes, dreams aspirations as a woman did 20, 30, 50 years ago Does anything ever really change The writing style is quite unique Characters cross paths as their stories intersect We get to learn of their backstories while the focus is on anotherprotagonist I love how I had one impression of a character that I wasn t particularly keen on, only to change my mind about her many chapters down the track when I saw her in a different light.I was completely taken off guard by the depiction of domestic violence in an all female relationship That really opened my eyes I don t know why I was so surprised that this occurs.The plight of the refugee and immigrant is highlighted with poignancy How much is left behind, and is it worth how much is gained Does material wealth equal happiness Even when escaping from a violent country, the cost of broken families cannot be measured The hopes that the next generation will have an easier life and opportunities But then the new generation have their own prejudices to overcome and hurdles to jump A different set of issues to deal with The goalposts are ever moving.There are amusing depictions of the power struggles between the generations Each one convinced that their fight is the important The one that will change society the older generation has RUINED EVERYTHING and her generation is dooooooooooooooomed you get the picture We see the dynamics of various constructs of the no longer typical nuclear family The single mother, the lesbian mother, the working mother, the traditional father from the old country, the absentee father, the father who didn t even know he had a child.For me these women s voices are about their struggle to be heard and understood Treated fairly Paid equally Respected and loved.We also hear from their menfolk Of their struggles and triumphs as men of colour The assumption being they ll either end up as football stars, bouncers or hooligans The ones that do rise to some level of corporate achievement often have to do so at personal cost.Bernadine Evaristo captures the subtle quirks and failings of her characters with biting wit But she also captures their vulnerabilities and strengths with equal candour We get into their heads.I m old school when it comes to grammar and punctuation a la Eats, Shoots Leaves I don t even use abbreviations in text messages Oddly, the distinct lack of following writing rules in this book didn t bother me Sentences merge into one another in a free flowing form There s the occasional capital letter, and the fullstop is an endangered species But for some perverse reason I can t possibly fathom, it works.I m thrilled this book has made it to the Booker shortlist Very well deserved.A very solid 4.5 It was just an eeny bit too long for me Having said that, I m keen to read Bernadine s other books Shortlisted for the Man Booker Deservedly so Another unofficial buddy read waves with extremely well read book fiend Collin Yup, I m hanging off his Man Booker Prize 2019 coat tails Makes me feel somewhat a sophisticated reader to do so Team Collin Please make sure you check out his utterly fab review, it makes a hell of a lot sense than mine

  5. says:

    SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 BOOKER PRIZE.The novel opens with Amma just about to open her play, The Last of Dahomy , at the National Theatre She reminisces about her friend Dominique and the days when they were starting out in theatre The days they would heckle and disrupt any shows that offended them She remembers how firmly they both believed in their public protests.Because of their strong political views and protests, both girls found it impossible to find work as actresses, so they decided to open their own theatre company.Amma is one character from a group of twelve women The novel follows this group of women and their everyday problems Problems, that are problems only to a paranoid, insecure, mind, like celluloid, and eyebrows, fat where there is no fat To serious problems such as wearing a hijab after the twin tower bombings The girls come from all different walks of life, countries and cultures, even generations, and yet they all are connected to the central narrative The novel s central narrative, its beating heart, is the characters and their lives In some ways it almost feels like you are being bombarded from a plethora of perspectives However, it works, extremely well The narrative hops all over the place from character to character, back and forth in time and again perspective The story revolves around these characters, their lives, their desires, fears It is a delight to be reading one character s narrative line, and then find the connections to the other characters lines They may be parents, siblings, friends, the connections are everywhere The phrase, never judge somebody until you have walked a mile in their shoes, has never seemed apt than in this novel You will briefly meet a character in one character s story that you may dislike, or cast quick judgement upon, then you will find out about them in their own story and find why they are the way they are, or how somebodies actions or views can so easily be misconstrued There are so many perspectives and connections that this novel almost requires multiple reads to fully appreciate the skill that has gone into this book The way that all the character s chapters are joined in some way reminded me very much of David Mitchell The last chapter is also skilfully written Just as the novel opens with Amma s play about to start, it concludes with the after party of the play in which many of the characters are present This creates an excellent narrative balance and finale The epilogue is the icing on top.Punctuation is thrown out the window with this book I personally feel that punctuation, call me old school, is a must However, having said that, this book does flow along almost poetically at times, and I found myself forgetting about the lack of punctuation very early into the novel and enjoying it not long after that This is an amazing book, addressing issues such as racism, sexism, stereotypes, feminism, social media, almost furtively at times, and at others right in your face This is right up there with my favourite reads of the year 5 Stars.

  6. says:

    Update Joint Winner of the Man Booker Prize Had it not been for its Man Booker Prize longlisting and subsequent short listing, who knows if I d have read Girl, Woman, Other Many thanks to Grove Press, Black Cat for the eARC Girl, Woman, Other is a perfectly titled novel This time, you won t hear me complain about yet another girl book This novel is made up of twelve interconnected chapters that focus on a certain woman, eleven of them black, one not knowing she had black genes Evaristo managed to cover a wide spectrum of British black women women from different generations, with different sexual orientations, and gender identity Some of them are ardent feminists some had been feminists before it was trendy others just want to fit in with the middle class Some seek and find a career and financial success many of those people reject, to a certain extent, their origins and become players in the establishment Some are artistic, some are pragmatic, some are erudite, some had obtained top class education, and others had left school early Some know what they want, others fumble through life, making it up as they go along The intergenerational conflict is present throughout Of course, racism, a la Great Britain, is featured throughout It also covers single motherhood, domestic abuse, drug taking, and rape This novel is written in a very direct, unadorned way, it felt like listening to someone s life story told by someone close to them The lack of full stops between phrases didn t impact the reading flow, but I thought it was unnecessary Girl, Woman, Other is not perfect what is After finishing it, I felt warmth, compassion, empathy and sympathy, while also being enlightened to certain aspects of gender and sexual identity and expression.I m happy this has made it onto the Man Booker Prize shortlist Highly recommended

  7. says:

    Joint winner of the Booker Prize 2019 .I m going to overlook the few problems this has and simply rate it in direct proportion to how much of an antidote it is to the jokers who are currently trying to destroy the UK, and how much I think everyone should read it, especially if they want to remind themselves what defiantly empathetic, perfectly controlled, generous, funny, unflinching yet uplifting fiction looks like.

  8. says:

    Update This predictably has won the Booker 2019 jointly And if it is the best book of the shortlist, I am very happy about my decision not to spend time reading any others shortlisted this year Original review Unfortunately I ended up disappointed by this book, though I really wanted to like it In fact, it is the only book from this year Booker I ve decided to read I ve read two others before they were long listed It seems this book is widely admired by others But it has fallen quite short of my personal expectations The book is devoted to the lives, experiences and ideas of black women in Britain It is constructed as 12 short stories, superficially interconnected by the author Each story follows the life of a particular character with grand finale when the majority of the characters met There is also an epilogue with the moving, but predictable twist The book is celebration of success of these woman, which is really admirable, fantastic intention But I seriously struggled with the execution of this First, any individual story reads like a long read article from The guardian It is sketchy, aspirational, it might be a good journalism But I am not sure it is a good literature Sometimes the article would become almost feminist manifesto We should celebrate with that many women are reconfiguring feminism and that grassroots activism is spreading like wildfire and millions of women are waking up to the possibility of taking ownership of our world as fully entitled human being how can we argue with that Wonderful, but is it how two lesbian 50 years old friends talk to each other after two bottles of red wine and 4 lines of coke I do not know But I doubt The characters are used as mouthpieces for statements like that Her mother was unthinkingly repeating patterns of oppression based on gender The idea of reinventing the farm for the people who have reinvented themselves When I want to read an article I go to the website or buy a newspaper I want something different from a book At minimum I want a complex, human characters I want depth Here, the diversity prevail over complexity The breadth prevails over the depth All the stories are stories of success of the self made women But sometimes I found it very hard to believe The characters overcome horrific traumas such as rape, severe post tantrum depression, drug addiction How do they do it Just by the power of their will In case of drug addiction, staying at home and sweating for a week cured it all It sounds very naive at best It is very good to hear such stories But it should be at least some discussion that it was a rare case of luck Without it, the whole narrative becomes simply cartoonish And reading 12 articles under one cover becomes a bit tedious A lot of true, but tired bits of public discourse are thrown into general mixture For example, I do not need a character to repeat that a Muslim perpetrator of atrocities would be called a terrorist while the white would be called a madman Sadly, I heard this one many times before Or another character would tell me that Gender is a social construct and femininity and masculinity are society inventions I read my Guardian But if someone does not, I do not think she he would be converted by seeing it first as a soundbite here The book is a bit better in the stories of the older characters It is still quite didactic, but less rhetorical That feels like a relief The epilogue involving two oldest characters of 80 and 94 years old is the best part of the whole book In spite of all rhetoric, the aspirations of these very diverse crowd appear to be relatively middle class the house, security, to keep a farm inside the family for generations, certain amount of prejudice towards the others It is probably a good thing But does it make a good literature I am not convinced.While reading I could not but compare this book with two different recent novels of the similar topicality Zadie Smith s Swing time and The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell The former deals with mixed raced friends growing up in London, the latter is structured in very similar way 9 connected stories of predominantly female characters in Zambia I found both of these books less than perfect but successful and effective as fiction These might affect my general opinion and rating of this book This is an admirable spirit of a book, feel good manifesto, but it is bit too simplistic as a work of literary fiction 2.5 stars rounded down.

  9. says:

    I snuck one book in from the Booker Prize shortlist before it is awarded tonight This book doesn t come out in the United States until December 3, but I was able to get a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss.Girl, Woman, Other follows a string of women in the UK, and all are women of color with a fair amount of varying sexual orientation Each section has its own voice and style while the characters interact with each other throughout so the reader gets different versions perspectives of some of the characters I thought it was very joyful to read and it has become a favorite from the shortlist, when my assumption before starting was that it would be too UK oriented to be relevant So give it a try TW for sexual violence, transphobia, various forms of racism, and suicidal ideation.

  10. says:

    Deserved Winner of the Booker Prize 2019This was my first experience of reading Evaristo, and on balance it was a positive one It occupies the grey area between short story collection and novel each of the first 12 sections could be a story in its own right, and relates the life story of a different woman or in one case a trans person and all of them have at least some black roots view spoiler in one case this only becomes clear very late in the book hide spoiler

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