Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernardine Evaristo (Booker Prize Winner 2019)
“A must-read about modern Britain and womanhood . . . An impressive, fierce novel about the lives of black British families, their struggles, pains, laughter, longings and loves . . . Her style is passionate, razor-sharp, brimming with energy and humor. There is never a single moment of dullness in this book and the pace does not allow you to turn away from its momentum.”―Booker Prize Judges
Bernardine Evaristo is the winner of the 2019 Booker Prize and the first black woman to receive this highest literary honor in the English language. Girl, Woman, Other is a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity and a moving and hopeful story of an interconnected group of Black British women that paints a vivid portrait of the state of contemporary Britain and looks back to the legacy of Britain’s colonial history in Africa and the Caribbean.
The twelve central characters of this multi-voiced novel lead vastly different lives: Amma is a newly acclaimed playwright whose work often explores her Black lesbian identity; her old friend Shirley is a teacher, jaded after decades of work in London’s funding-deprived schools; Carole, one of Shirley’s former students, is a successful investment banker; Carole’s mother Bummi works as a cleaner and worries about her daughter’s lack of rootedness despite her obvious achievements. From a nonbinary social media influencer to a 93-year-old woman living on a farm in Northern England, these unforgettable characters also intersect in shared aspects of their identities, from age to race to sexuality to class.
Sparklingly witty and filled with emotion, centering voices we often see othered, and written in an innovative fast-moving form that borrows technique from poetry, Girl, Woman, Other is a polyphonic and richly textured social novel that shows a side of Britain we rarely see, one that reminds us of all that connects us to our neighbors, even in times when we are encouraged to be split apart.
Anglo-Nigerian writer Bernardine Evaristo is the celebrated author of eight books and the winner of the 2019 Booker Prize. Her writing is characterized by experimentation, daring, subversion, and challenging the myths of various Afro-diasporic histories and identities, and her books range in genre from poetry to short story to drama to criticism. She lives in London.
WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019
Shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize 2019
Named a Best Book of the Year by Time, Vogue, Kirkus Reviews, Amazon, and the Daily Telegraph
“Girl, Woman, Other received half a Booker Prize, but it deserves all the glory . . . A breathtaking symphony of black women’s voices, a clear-eyed survey of contemporary challenges that’s nevertheless wonderfully life-affirming . . . Together, all these women present a cross-section of Britain that feels godlike in its scope and insight.”―Ron Charles, Washington Post
“A big, busy novel with a large root system . . . Evaristo has a gift for appraising the lives of her characters with sympathy and grace while gently skewering some of their pretensions . . . Evaristo’s lines are long, like Walt Whitman’s or Allen Ginsberg’s, and there are no periods at the ends of them. There’s a looseness to her tone that gives this novel its buoyancy. Evaristo’s wit helps too.”―Dwight Garner, New York Times
“A sprawling book, but too intimate to be considered an epic . . . Each of these characters―and indeed the doting spouses, or abusive girlfriends, or foul-mouthed school chums, or lecherous preachers, or the rest of the human parade―feels specific, and vibrant, and not quite complete, insofar as the best fictional characters remain as elusive and surprising as real people are. This is a feat; the whole book is . . . Evaristo is a gifted portraitist, and you marvel at both the people she conjures and the unexpected way she reveals them to you . . . Yes, prizes are silly. But sometimes they’re deserved.”―Rumaan Alam, New Republic
“[Evaristo] is a master at parsing out individual voices while also collaging them into a beautiful chorus, exploring the ways identities and people’s lives intersect.”―Katie Yee, Literary Hub
“Look no further than Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other for the most distinctive novel of the year . . . Superlatives pale in the shadow of the monumental achievement of Girl, Woman, Other. Few adjectives suffice. It’s hard not to overpraise this brilliant novel. Evaristo’s verbal acrobatics do things language shouldn’t be able to do. It’s a Cirque du Soleil of fiction. Readers should put down whatever book they’re reading and immerse themselves in this one. Bernardine Evaristo is the writer of the year. Girl, Woman, Other is the book of the decade.”―Washington Independent Review of Books
“Magnificent . . . As she creates a space for immigrants and the children of immigrants to tell their stories, Evaristo explores a range of topics both contemporary and timeless. There is room for everyone to find a home in this extraordinary novel. Beautiful and necessary.”―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Evaristo beguiles with her exceptional depictions of a range of experiences of black British women . . . A stunning powerhouse of vibrant characters and heartbreaks.”―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Courageous . . . Hearing from mothers and their children, teachers and their students across generations, readers might expect that they’ll get to see just what these characters can’t know about one another, but they won’t imagine the dazzling specificities nor the unspooling dramas; they will be entertained, educated, and riveted.”―Booklist (starred review)
“Girl, Woman, Other, the intermingling stories of generations of black British women told in a gloriously rich and readable free verse, will surely be seen as a landmark in British fiction.”―Guardian
“In Girl, Woman, Other, Evaristo adopts an even bigger canvas, with a sparkling new novel of interconnected stories . . . In Evaristo’s eighth book she continues to expand and enhance our literary canon. If you want to understand modern day Britain, this is the writer to read.”―New Statesman
“Brims with vitality . . . The form [Evaristo] chooses here is breezily dismissive of convention. The flow of this prose-poetry hybrid feels absolutely right, with the pace and layout of words matched to the lilt and intonation of the characters’ voices . . . She captures the shared experience that make us, as she puts it in her dedication, ‘members of the human family.’”―Financial Times
“The voices of black women come to the fore in a swirl of interrelated stories that cover the past century of British life. Wide-ranging, witty and wise, it’s a book that does new things with the novel form.”―Sunday Times
“This masterful novel is a choral love song to black womanhood.”―Elle (UK)
Released November 5, 2019. Paperback only.