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Girl, Woman, Other

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  18,538 ratings  ·  2,474 reviews
Joint Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2019

Teeming with life and crackling with energy a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

Joyfully
...more
Hardcover, 453 pages
Published May 2nd 2019 by Hamish Hamilton
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IvanOpinion I loved the book, but this aspect of it puzzles me.

I think part of the reason I ask is that I 'read' the audiobook and from this I had no clue that it…more
I loved the book, but this aspect of it puzzles me.

I think part of the reason I ask is that I 'read' the audiobook and from this I had no clue that it had been written without punctuating the start and finish of sentences.

I knew little about the book at the outset and it was only when I finished and I then discussed it with someone who read it on paper that I learned about the (lack of) punctuation. This makes me wonder what was achieved by eschewing sentence punctuation.

I thought back: the audiobook narration did not sound any different to a normally punctuated novel. I don't remember being puzzled about what was a sentence, so much so that the question never even occurred to me at the time.

This made me start to wonder if the narrator had added pauses or intonation to indicate what she saw as being a sentence, even though they weren't there. I suspect so, in which case I wondered if the narrator had therefore effectively dumbed down (or at least lost) part of the experience of what the author intended?

But now I look at the written text it seems generally clear where the punctuation would be. Perhaps there is the occasional paragraph where a reader might need to slow down, momentarily, to work out what is meant, but not often. Perhaps it would have been harder if the paragraphs contained several sentences, but they do not.

I can see how this sort of approach can achieve a literary effect in some novels, such as helping the reader to share the disorientation or perception problems of a character or to show a stream of consciousness. But neither of these approaches seem to apply here.

It seems to me that the book is in fact written in sentences, but just without conventional punctuation to denote them. So, the narrator was not imposing structure that was not intended; she just spoke what was implicit (even though it would normally be explicit).

Perhaps the book shows that sentence punctuation is not essential to interpretation, which might be of interest in an academic linguistic sense, but I could not really see any literary purpose. That is, if the punctuation had been normal (which it effectively seems to be if you audioread it), the book would have been just as good.

But perhaps I would have had a different experience if I had 'eye' read the book first, so I'm curious if people who did so feel that the (lack of) punctuation somehow enhanced their experience.(less)
Colleen Muy disfruta!!! Yo necesito la trapia cuando termine! Latisha!!!

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,538 ratings  ·  2,474 reviews


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Roxane
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Magnificent novel of such grand scope and ambition. This is a novel about 12 women but it is also a sweeping history of the black British experience. The attention to detail, the structure, the syntax, its all brilliant and moving and truly represents what fiction at its finest. ...more
Gumble's Yard
Now longlisted for the Women's Prize.

Winner (jointly) of the 2019 Booker Prize - perhaps appropriately given its closing words

this is about being
together


A book I have read and loved three times so I was delighted to be present for its win and to get these photos

description

description

When 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
...more
Paromjit
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After hearing so much about this novel, a joint winner of the Booker prize, I was incredibly keen to read this. Bernardine Evaristo writes vibrantly of a contemporary Britain that is rarely seen, challenging, giving us a glimpse of its past, present and future, with a seamless feminist narrative that goes back and forth in time, an unconventional structure, poetic prose, and a disregard of the normal conventions of punctuation. She presents us with a broad and diverse spectrum of black women's ...more
Lisa
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Cecily
its easy to forget that England is made up of many Englands

a cosy scratchy patchwork of connected stories
a polyphonic harmony of dissonant voices
a hymn, ancient and modern, to women of colour
a beautifully disorienting kaleidoscopic lens

privilege

were often told to check your privilege
I have a privileged life
it doesnt always feel that way: Ive known heartbreak, loss, and worries about work, money, and health
and Im a woman in what is still rather more of a mans world
but I have/had two parents who
...more
Meike
Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: uk, 2019-booker
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
...more
Michael
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
The winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize, Girl, Woman, Other takes an energetic look at British Black womanhood. The linked short story collection consists of four triptychs, each focusing on the hopes and frustrations of Black women as they navigate Britains social hierarchy. Evaristos fragmented prose is compelling and propels the cinematic collection forward; again and again at a breakneck pace the highlights of a life are surveyed, from school troubles to late-in-life despair. A lesbian ...more
Katia N
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 Ive decided to read. (Ive read two others before they were long listed. ) It seems this book is widely admired by others. But it has fallen quite
...more
Nat K

✩✩✩ 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 womens 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, its a challenge for me to reflect this properly in this review.

We meet women of different ages,
...more
Collin
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 BOOKER PRIZE.


The novel opens with Amma just about to open her play, The Last Amazon 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
...more
Hugh
Deserved Winner of the Booker Prize 2019

This was my first experience of reading Evaristo, and on balance it was a very 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)).

They
...more
Esil
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I started Girl, Woman, Other on the morning of the day it was announced as one of two Booker prize winners this year. I was vaguely aware it had been nominated and had no idea it was going to win that day. But Im happy to see that it won. I absolutely loved it. It will likely be my favourite novel of the year. It feels original and contemporary, while delivering great characters and good storytelling. Evaristo tells the story of 14 interconnected characters primarily women of colour in England. ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I snuck one more 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
...more
Henk
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, owned
Well deserved Booker prize 2019 winner!
Filled with humor while narrating the racially and sexual diverse female experience in Great Brittain


I am a major sucker for interconnected, contemporary stories (Cloud Atlas is my favourite book and David Mitchell my favourite writer) so Girl, Woman, Other is right up my alley from that perspective.

Bernardine Evaristo captures lives in a convincing, seemingly effortless manner, while following the twelve narrators who are loosely bound by a theater
...more
Debbie
4.5, these characters came alive

Okay. When an author knows how to make words dance, Im a goner. I put on my tap shoes and am ready to go. I hear music and rhythm and suddenly my book cubby doubles as a jazz club. The author has this cool style; the story pops out and is all jittery and still in the right places. When the author is at her best, emotions flood hard out of the characters and get soaked up into my skin. Its stream-of consciousness, prose poetry. The style seduced me: In a single
...more
Nadia
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2019, fiction
Girl, Woman, Other is the winner🥇 of the Booker Prize 2019 and deservedly so. Bernardine Evaristo has written a powerful story featuring 12 mostly black female characters of different ages from a teenager to a great grandmother from different backgrounds living in the UK. The novel captures a portrayal of modern Britain, presenting 12 original tales of women and their struggles of living in a predominantly white society. Each tale is unique, yet they are all linked. There's a lot packed in this ...more
Bianca
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 Id 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 wont 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
...more
Julie Ehlers
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Girl, Woman, Other started off so well for me. I absolutely adored the first triptych of stories, about two queer, creative women of color and the college-age daughter of one of them. I loved the characters and I loved the writing style, and I was excited to keep going. Eventually, though, the sameness of the tone and style began to frustrate me, and the stories began to feel a bit like checking off boxes: Here is the immigrant experience, here is the experience of a devotee of white feminism, ...more
Lee
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Read By RodKelly
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Voices flooding the page. Called forth from that bottomless wellspring of black womanhood. Where she is green with youth, and serenely and sagaciously aged. Where she is multi-caste: Nigerian and, Trini and, Ethiopian and. Where she is womanloving. Where she is mother and mothered. Where she is elemental. Where she is powerful. Power. Where she is weak with shame and doubt and yet seen in all her profundity, in all her kink and insecurity, her hidden pain and the nightmare of oppression and ...more
Erin Glover
I put this book down after spending 452 pages reading about lesbians, transexuals, polyamorous people, gender non-conformists, black feminists, white feminists, gay men, transvestites and I was left with one overarching feeling: we're all the same. No matter how one identifies or one's orientation, we are all people who want to be loved, who have feelings, who suffer, who experience joy.

This message that were more alike than we might believe is brought home at the end of the novel where after
...more
Hannah
I am late to the party with this one - and I am so glad I can finally rave with the rest of the world. I thought this book was all kinds of wonderful. Told in four trios of what some have called short stories (though I would not necessarily agree with that assessment), Evaristo has written a snapshot of Britain in a way that I have not read before. She focusses on the interlinked lives of eleven black women and one black non-binary person in a way that worked exceedingly well for me. The book is ...more
Kathleen
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Booker Prize 2019. Evaristo follows the lives of twelve different womenmostly women of color living in the United Kingdom. They are from different generations, faiths, classes and backgrounds. It is as if a videographer first follows one character, learning about the arc of their life, before turning to another. As such, there is an aspect of continuous stream of consciousness that is reinforced by the complete lack of punctuation. [I think there are a total of two periods in the whole ...more
Thomas
An impressive, polyphonic novel narrated by 12 mostly women, mostly black characters living in the UK. I learned a lot from this novel without feeling like Bernardine Evaristo tried at all to lecture me. The voices in this collection encompass diversity across social identities, across sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, and more. The characters also range in their emotional status, as some embody a cynical and disillusioned perspective whereas others carry a more yearning fire for ...more
Britta Böhler
I'm in the minority here because I didnt like this book. It irked the hell out of me that it seems all that (straight) women REALLY want is... a man.
Here is my review on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr-yd...
Barry Pierce
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
In Girl, Woman, Other Bernardine Evaristo creates more memorable characters than some authors could only dream of doing in a whole career.

The novel is set off by Amma who is walking across the brutalist playground that is the Southbank toward the NT where her newest play is just about to open. Over the next couple hundred pages, Evaristo explores the lives of Amma and eleven other people, all black womxn and one trans man, who are either directly or indirectly connected through Amma and her
...more
Doug
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5, rounded down.

This pushed a lot of negative buttons for me, so I am the first to admit my rating MIGHT be a case of 'It's probably NOT you, it's me'.' First of all, this is really a series of interconnected short stories, rather than a true 'novel', and I always have trouble digesting such. Secondly - the majority of the 12 chapters prior to the final two of summation and 'connect-the-dot-ness' are not even stories... they are character profiles, a compilation of specific 'factoids' that
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Not really being the target audience for this book, I still felt it was original, well-written and populated with interesting characters each with their own unique story to tell. The themes of sexuality and identity abound as 12 womens lives intersect primarily at a play in London by Amma around whom most of the characters orbit in some way or another. The book explores the web of connections between these women without turning an eye to the violence each has at some point endured, by and large ...more
Eric Anderson
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ive mentioned in the past how novels which are more like books of interconnected short stories are my favourite kind. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo invents a new slant to this form of prose and it does so in a way which poignantly relates to the novels overall meaning. The stories in this novel revolve around particular groups which are usually composed of a daughter, mother and friend/lover/important familial figure. They focus on twelve central characters in total whose lives touch ...more
Rebecca
A terrific linked short story collection about 12 black women navigating twentieth-century and contemporary Britain balancing external and internal expectations and different interpretations of feminism to build lives of their own. I had the chance to see Evaristo (in conversation with Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi) at the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre last week, and enjoyed hearing more about the novels context and genesis. Frustrated by a lack of black women in British ...more
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Bernardine Evaristo is the Anglo-Nigerian award-winning author of several books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora: past, present, real, imagined. Her novel Girl, Woman, Other won the Booker Prize in 2019. Her writing also spans short fiction, reviews, essays, drama and writing for BBC radio. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University, London, ...more

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