Girl, Woman, Other
By Bernardine Evaristo
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 . . .Tweet
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A rich spider's web of narratives told from the perspective of 12 black British women who weave and entangle into one another's lives. I would read this book again and again. One of my all time favourite reads!
It's taken the longest time to break into my reading this summer. Finally got going and I've missed it so much! An excellent read which wandered through the lives of women across time and place, as you read the connections between the women become apparent. Shocking, heartbreaking and heartwarming in different ways, a truly wonderful read.
I really liked the style and the different stories which were inter-linked.
St Just Monday Morning Reading Group 29th March 2021.
Girl, woman, other. Bernardine Evaristo.
It seemed that almost everyone loved this book: ‘the best book I have read this year’; ‘easy to read and it was emotionally engaging’; ‘educational and thought provoking’; ‘interesting and well constructed’. Readers appreciated the characters and the way they were interwoven in the narrative, and they enjoyed finding out about the diversity of society within modern Britain. A fascinating insight into people’s lives, was the general opinion. Eye-opening, and challenging to the perspective regarding race, sexuality and gender norms, some readers thought.
One slight but frequently-mentioned problem was some confusion, towards the end of the book, as to how each character was connected to the others. A cast list might have been useful, it was felt. The only other negative criticisms were that it was ‘more like an essay on social issues than a novel’, and that the ending was perhaps a little contrived. Those who said this, however, enjoyed the book very much just the same. Only one reader was less than enthusiastic.
The style of writing caused some unease at first, but readers generally found they rapidly became used to it, and found that it made the book very immediate, ‘vibrant’, and ‘exuberant’,
The great majority of comments on this book were highly positive, and the general impression is of a life-affirming novel which most people loved reading.
This book was read during March 2021 and the continuing restrictions due to the Covid-19 virus, and so the discussion was not 'live' as usual, but took place via a Facebook group, email and telephone conversations.
I liked it. Even though it is not an easy read - some of the content is upsetting and shocking. However, Evaristo creates a rhythm with her writing which makes the book easy to read. She gives the women, girls and Other a voice, including using Patois and Pidgin. It feels as if they speak for themselves. The stories are interwoven in a clever manner, and the reader stays curious until the end, almost sorry that there is not more, and with questions about the characters unanswered. Even though the book has an educational purpose it does never feel patronizing. The characters are not 'good' people, they are trying to find themselves and explore their sexuality as well as battling with their lives and the question who they are.
A wonderful novel. Travel with Bernadine as she uncovers the secrets behind discovering our true identity. Modern day Britain portrayed with unblinking candour. There are gems of stories and beautiful passages of discovery.