'Diana Evans is a lyrical and glorious writer; a precise poet of the human heart' Naomi Alderman
‘You can take a leap, do something off the wall, something reckless. It’s your last chance, and most people miss it.’
South London, 2008. Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning, on the brink of acceptance or revolution. Melissa has a new baby and doesn’t want to
“It used to be so natural (Used to be)
To talk about forever
But used-to-be's don't count anymore
They just lay on the floor 'til we sweep them away
”And baby, I remember
All the things you taught me
“I learned how to laugh
And I learned how to cry
“Well I learned how to love
And I learned how to lie
“So you'd think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye
“You don't bring me flowers anymore”
-- You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond, Songwriters: Alan Bergman / Marilyn ...more
Girl, I'm in love with you
This ain't the honeymoon
Passed the infatuation phase ..
Seems like we argue everyday
I know I misbehaved and you made your mistakes ….
We're just ordinary people
We don't know which way to go
Now shortlisted for the 2019 Women's Prize.
As befits the past Arts and Music editor of Pride Magazine, music sits at the heart of this novel, which is one part celebration of black South London life, and in other part an examination of what ...more
Now deservedly shortlisted for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction, and set largely in a wonderfully drawn South-East London - the London the Tube forgot - Diane Evans's Ordinary People is book-ended by two significant milestones, Obama's election victory in November 2008, and Michael Jackson's death in June 2009. It opens:
To celebrate Obama’s election, the Wiley brothers threw a party at their house in Crystal Palace. ...more
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION.
Looking back in hindsight, I probably went into this book expecting not to like it. Even the title has a way of unintentionally lowering your expectations. What could be exciting or enjoyable about reading about a bunch of people living out their “ordinary” lives? Well, I can admit that I am pleasantly surprised and did enjoy this novel. Having said that, I don’t think it will be for everybody.
A simple description of the narrative is ...more
The world has become a lot more complicated since then. The impact of social media, the rise of nationalism, the political divide, mass diaspora, the changing landscape of race and gender, the threat of climate change... these issues have brought an ...more
I didn't particularly dislike this, just felt pretty ambivalent about it.
Although the premise isn't new (how relationships and people change after marriage and/or children) I began this thinking it had potential, but the story ended up being kind of all over the place. I'd think it was just getting better, or the author had just hit on something that really made me think... and then it was over, things moved on, and I felt kind of bored again.
The lack of character development ...more
LONGLISTED FOR WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
BOOK 15 OF 16 READ FROM LONGLIST
As the title suggests, Diana Evans' ORDINARY PEOPLE delves deep into the mundane struggles of domestic life, capturing a key period in the lives of two BAM couples, Michael and Melissa and Danian and Stephanie). Their passions having become stale, exhausted by parenthood and time, all four begin to reflect on the days of their relationships and whether past intense love or their shared children are enough to keep going.
The novel was too long: I found myself bored through large sections of the novel. It was far too descriptive (did Evans really need to mention every single toy in that baby singing class?), with a lot ...more
What makes this different, is that the couples in question are either black or a mixture of black and white. There are some key references to outlooks and style that is ...more
“Sometimes in the lives of ordinary people, there is a great halt, a revelation, a moment of change. It occurs under low mental skies, never when one is happy. You are walking along on a crumbling road. The tarmac is falling away beneath your feet and you have started to limp, you are wearing rags, a cruel wind is blowing against your face. It feels as though you have been walking for a very long time. You are losing hope. You are losing meaning, and the only thing feeling keeping you ...more
"'I'm on a mission to reclaim my literary innocence.'"
Ordinary People is centered around two black couples, Melissa and Michael, and Damian and Stephanie. The initial glow of their relationships has dulled and their fiery love turns into a comfortable familiarity, which then twists into a feral resentment for each of them that was once held in the throes of passion.
The story begins with the elated and historic election of ...more
Beautifully written and an empathic view on the frailness of humans and their relations, on the passing by of the years and the dangers of living life without taking time and a break once in a while.
loved everything about it!! smart, funny, sad, wise, contemporary, urban, poetic, realistic, magical... true. beautiful sentences, great characters, life in london in our times, as it is... exquisite scenes... accomplished in every regard. what more can you ask for? highly recommended
Although the back of the book claimed to follow the lives of two couples, there was definitely a very strong bias towards one couple, Michael and Melissa, to the ...more
It focuses on a pair of middle-class black couples in London in 2008-2009. They're in their mid-thirties, with young kids, and hitting difficult patches in their relationships. Matthew and Melissa are the more fleshed out couple. After deciding to stay home and freelance after the birth of their second child, Melissa finds she is losing her sense of self and growing more and more irritated with Matthew, as well ...more