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Girl, Woman, Other

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  131,318 ratings  ·  13,594 reviews

This is Britain as you've never seen 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 lookin
Paperback, UK, 453 pages
Published March 5th 2020 by Penguin (first published May 2nd 2019)
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Average rating 4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  131,318 ratings  ·  13,594 reviews

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Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, it’s all brilliant and moving and truly represents what fiction at its finest.
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Now shortlisted for the prestigious international 2021 Dublin Literary Award

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

this is about being

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



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 estab
Katia N
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 v ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-writers
Okay, folks, I had some time to think about it ... so here's goes nothing. The more I reminisce about this particular book the more I cannot shake the feeling that this ... simply ain't it. I'm sorry. If this is the best what Britain has to offer at the moment, the situation is more grave than I initially thought. Uff. Where do we even start here?

The book has no overarching story. Instead, each chapter of the book follows the life of one of the 12 characters (mostly Black women*) as they negoti
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 s
it’s 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


we’re often told to check your privilege
I have a privileged life
it doesn’t always feel that way: I’ve known heartbreak, loss, and worries about work, money, and health
and I’m a woman in what is still rather more of a man’s world
but I have/had two parent
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker, british
Excellent novel, totally deserving the Booker Prize 2019. It was also surprisingly accessible comparing it to other winners that I've read.

The author put me in the shoes and mind of an amazing and varied selection of black women. While I did not like all of them, Alma the binding character being an example, I got to understand more about what it is/was to be a person of colour in this world and especially in the UK.

The interesting structure of the novel makes the writing poetic, it made me fly
Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-booker, uk
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
Julie Ehlers
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, h ...more
Elyse  Walters
Be it gay, straight, single, married, transgender, vegan, feminist, young, old, eating, smoking, sleeping, sexing, drug using, radically living, liberal or conservative thinking, housecleaning, chef, voodoo queen, minorities, divine beings, social issues, gender and race issues, mother, daughter, goddess, dirt poor or not, friendships, lovers, thespian, educated or not, etc. etc...
these Black British women from different backgrounds had stories to tell.
A stream of consciousness feeling....
Emily May
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, feminism, 2021
Girl, Woman, Other is quite the achievement. To have so much going on, so many different characters and stories, all in the space of a less than 500-page novel, AND somehow manage to make it emotionally-engaging and not confusing... well, few authors could do it. If you enjoyed the style of books like Homegoing, there's a good chance you will like this one also.

Evaristo has taken on the challenge of portraying a vast array of experiences had by predominantly black women in Britain. Like Homegoin
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 “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-ec
Violet wells
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twelve individual and distinctive voices all vibrating the same responsive web. Initially, I was a little dubious about the absence of punctuation as if it was nothing more than a gimmick but soon the expanses of white space on every page began to seem like open windows allowing in fresh air. I loved Evaristo's characters and the vitality and breezy skill with which she developed them. It seemed to me she was introducing brand new people into the archives of literature. It's a novel that celebra ...more
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 Britain’s social hierarchy. Evaristo’s 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 pla ...more
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, favorites
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 perform
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
be a person with knowledge not just opinions

A few weeks ago, I tried my hand at answering one of The Guardian's Book Q&A questions and one of the more memorable Qs was which book have you read do you wish you'd written? At the time, I answered predictably and generically but now I would like to emphatically change my answer because, THIS, this is the book I wish I'd written.

It is also the book I wish I'd read when it came out. A book I wish would never end. And literally the best
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-authors
What a pleasant surprise! I truly didn’t know anything about this beyond that it won (or rather, oddly, tied) for the 2019 Booker Prize with Atwood’s The Testaments — after finishing this Nonetheless, Evaristo has put together a cleverly intertwined collection of stories that reflects the lives of Black female & non-binary characters in modern England. It’s quite an ambitious novel but manages to pull it off with ease. My only small gripe is it’s a bit long, so by the end I was strug ...more
Susan Stuber
Oct 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm sorry, but life is simply too short for this sort of thing. No story, no structure, not even any punctuation, except for commas, and certainly, god forbid for being so straight-laced, no capital letters to mark the beginning of a sentence! No characters that one wants to get to know, no note-worthy prose, no clear conflict that might be resolved. Not a novel. What is it? One critic here said it was more like a collection of personal essays or feminist manifestos that might have been publishe ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
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 acc
Deserved Winner of the Booker Prize 2019
Shortlisted for the Women's Prize

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)
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 I’m 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 Englan ...more
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 ch ...more
Barry Pierce
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 wor
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 versions/perspective
4.5, these characters came alive

Okay. When an author knows how to make words dance, I’m 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. It’s stream-of consciousness, prose poetry. The style seduced me: In a single
Amalia Gkavea
‘’Amma is walking along the promenade in the waterway that bisects her city, a few early morning barges cruise slowly by, to her left is the nautical-themes footbridge with its deck-like walkway and sailing mast pylons
to her right is the bend in the river as it heads east past Waterloo Bridge towards the dome of St Paul’s
she feels the sun begin to rise, the air still breezy before the city clogs up with heat and fumes.’’

Twelve women. Twelve stories, twelve stops in an exciting, moving jour
Read By RodKelly
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 shou ...more
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I probably waited too long to review this properly. I remember being most struck by how sentences didn’t begin or end; they just flowed, creating this magnificent sense of how the past, present, and future are knitted together, but also how we are woven together horizontally as a people in a time. It was all about connection for me, and I loved it.

It’s a very contemporary work. It goes through all the current-day definitions of people’s gender identity and sexual orientation in all its fluidity
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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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