Book review: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Joint winner (alongside Margaret Atwood for The Testaments) of the 2019 Booker Prize, this densely populated novel tells the story of twelve characters across twelve chapters and different decades. The characters are black British woman of varying ages, sexualities, ethnic origins, faiths, classes and experiences, and choices whose lives overlap.

We should celebrate that many more 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 beings.

The collage of stories include theatre director Amma, her daughter Yazz and former partner Dominique. Mathematical whizz, Carole who’s intellect drew her from her poor upbringing to a lucrative banking job, Bummi her mother and La Tisha an old school friend and single parent of three who works in a supermarket. Shirley, veteran school teacher, her mother Winsome retired to Barbados, and Penelope a retired colleague of Shirley’s. Non-binary Megan/Morgan a social media influencer, Hattie their great grandmother, an elderly Northumberland farmer, and Grace, Hattie’s mother. The characters are complex and flawed.

why should he carry the burden of representation when it will only hold him back?
white people are only required to represent themselves, not an entire race

Girl, Woman, Other is a novel about the lived experience of black women, identity, friendship, feminism, struggle, longing, love, loss, joy, hope, bitterness and imagination. Evaristo’s prose-poetry writing style carries the reader with a delightful rhythm through the polyphonic choir of woman characters and delivers an emotionally engaging read.

we don’t exist in a vacuum… we are all part of a continuum, repeat after me, the future is in the past and the past is in the present

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