Girl, Woman, Other

Girl, Woman, Other

A ‘fusion fiction’ novel.
Hamish Hamilton/ Penguin UK (May 2019) (Paperback March 2020)
Black Cat/ Grove Atlantic USA (Nov. 2019)

Winner of the Booker Prize 2019
One of Barack Obama’s 19 Favourite Books of 2019
Roxane Gay’s Favourite Book of 2019
The 12th bestselling hardback fiction book in the UK 2019; one of two books on the list not categorised as mass market.
The No 1 bestselling paperback book in the UK 14 June 2020, after 20 non-consecutive weeks in the Top 10

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Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives of twelve very different people in Britain, predominantly female and black. Aged 19 to 93, they span a variety of cultural backgrounds, sexualities, classes and occupations as they tell the stories of themselves, their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

A Sunday Times Bestseller
Sunday Times Book of the Decade
Guardian book that defined the decade
Financial Times: Game Changers: Women of 2019

A BOOK OF THE YEAR
Vogue (US)Times Literary Supplement; Guardian; New Statesman; Evening StandardKirkus ReviewsThe Irish News; iNews paper; NPR (National Public Radio USA)
New Yorker 10 Best Books 2019
Washington Post 10 Best Books 2019
Financial Times Top 10 Fiction Books 2019
Entertainment Weekly Top 10 Books 2019
Washington Independent Review of Books 51 Favourite Books of 2019
Daily Telegraph 50 Best Books 2019 & Critics’ Pick
TIME 100 Must-Read Books 2019
Elle 13 Best Feminist Books
Yahoo! Lifestyle 25 Best Books 2019
Oprah Mag Best LGBT Books 2019
Red magazine 10 Best Books
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) 28 Best International Fiction 2019
Amazon Editors’ Pick of the Year and Apple Books Best of the Year
& a Times (UK) Best Audio Book of 2019, read by Anna-Maria Nabirye
Guardian: Best of Summer Books.  June 2019
Sunday Times: Ultimate Summer Books. June 2019
Observer: Bookseller’s Choice. July 2019

The Booker Judges’ Comments
‘A must-read about modern Britain and womanhood. This is an impressive, fierce novel about the lives of black British families, their struggles, pains, laughter, longings and loves. With a dazzling rhythm, Evaristo takes us on a journey of intergenerational stories, moving through different spaces and heritages: African, Caribbean, European. Her 12 main characters manifest the highs and lows of our social life. They are artists, bankers, teachers, cleaners, housewives, and are at various stages of womanhood, from adolescence to old age. Her style is passionate, razor-sharp, brimming with energy and humour. There is never a single moment of dullness in this book and the pace does not allow you to turn away from its momentum. The language wraps the reader by force, with the quality of oral traditions and poetry. This is a novel that deserves to be read aloud and to be performed and celebrated in all kinds of media.’

‘It’s a triumphantly wide-ranging novel, told in a hybrid of prose and poetry…It’s also, to my mind, the strongest contender on the (Booker) shortlist. A big, bold, sexy book that cracks open a world that needs to be known…Evaristo’s job is to observe, broaden our minds and to be funny – often very funny indeed…’
Sunday Times

‘My money (though) is on Evaristo. Her book was the last of the shortlist I read, but it not only exceeded my expectations, it felt like a novel that did what all great novels do, dropping the reader into richly imagined lives, recognising that in the intimate presentation of the particular lies the universal, and making a convincing case that the best novels push the genre in exciting new directions.’
Observer Booker roundup

‘This is the pick of the Booker shortlist for me. It’s the only novel that had me enthralled and engaged throughout.
Irish Times Booker roundup

‘Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo isn’t just my book of the year, it’s one of the most insightful and life-affirming books I’ve read in many a year. It comprises twelve beautifully interwoven stories of identity, race, womanhood, gender and sexuality, all rooted in the realities and complexities of modern Britain. The characters are vivid and authentic, the writing exquisite and it brims with humanity.’
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

‘Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other…is 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…just as crucial to this novel’s triumph is Evaristo’s proprietary style, a long-breath, free-verse structure that sends her phrases cascading down the page. She’s formulated a literary mode somewhere between prose and poetry that enhances the rhythms of speech and narrative. It’s that rare experimental technique that sounds like a sophisticated affectation but in her hands feels instantly accommodating, entirely natural. It’s just the style needed to carry along all these women’s stories and then bring them to a perfectly calibrated moment of harmony — a grace note that rings ouafter the orchestral grandness of Girl, Woman, Other draws to a perfect close.’
The Washington Post

‘This wonderful novel is both a critique of the deadening limitations of language when deployed as a crude political instrument, and a celebration of its limitless possibilities. Rather like John Coltrane’s riff on My Favourite Things, Girl, Woman, Other soars away on multiple emotional trajectories before, in the final chapter, set during the after-party of Amma’s triumphant first night, coming back to land, with the characters finally all in the same room. Yet it remains tantalisingly open-ended, with the not-entirely resolved exchange between Amma and her old friend Dominique. You suspect Evaristo is wise enough to know that, after the celebration, amid all the joyous feelings of sisterly togetherness, the conversation must still go on.’
The Telegraph

‘So joyfully uncontained it can hardly pause for punctuation, this surprise Booker winners unfurls a fantastically panoramic survey of modern womanhood: radical lesbian separatists, sexually fluid millennials, mad housewives, middle-aged cleaning ladies, bankers and bloggers and teachers. Most of them are black or brown, but Girl truly reads like a rainbow — literary fiction written in pure, glorious Technicolor.’
Entertainment Weekly US

‘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

‘David Olusoga observes in his book Black and British, in much of history “black figures are mute”, particularly the voices of women, “silenced by a lack of written sources”. The wide-ranging fictional works of Bernardine Evaristo, however, have helped to fill this void. The Emperor’s Babe followed a Nubian teenage bride in AD 211; Blonde Roots inverted the transatlantic slave trade – now 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

‘The deserved joint winner of the Booker PrizeEvaristo’s beautfilly observed novel spans decades in its examination of black womanhood.
iNews

‘Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other is one of the outstanding publications of 2019. This dazzling piece of experimental writing centres on 12 black British women…the novel’s non hierarchical form gives equal weight to a wide range of experiences…It is her distinct lyricism that makes Girl, Woman, Other unputdownable and such a joy to read.
Times Higher Education

‘Bernardine Evaristo’s eighth work of fiction, which has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is one of those books that makes the reader ask “Where have you been all my life?” and rush out for the author’s backlist. Perhaps coming to a writer afresh when their talent is fully formed makes the effect all the more dramatic – if so, then the new readership Evaristo will justifiably gain from her shortlisting will be thrilled.’
Irish Times

I picked up Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl,Woman, Other one evening earlier this week thinking I’d get fifty pages in and save the rest for the weekend. Hours later, I realized it was 1 A.M. and that I needed to force myself to go to bed for work the next morning. Evaristo’s Booker Prize–winning novel is a compulsively readable exploration of twelve characters’s lives in contemporary Britain, the majority of them black and female. Much of the book converges around The Last Amazon of Dahomey, a play by Amma—whose chapter opens the novel—that is set to premiere at the National Theatre. Each chapter takes the voice of a different character, many of them connected to one another through blood or friendship, and as Evaristo moves closer to the premiere of the play, she explores questions of race, gender, sexuality, immigration, and what it means to be British. There’s something truly pleasurable to watching a virtuoso at work, and Evaristo’s ability to switch between voices, between places, and between moods brings to mind an extraordinary conductor and her orchestra.
Paris Review

‘The lives of 12 very different, loosely connected black women are depicted in this marvellous novel that deliberately sets out to resist the notion that any one of their stories should be seen as representative of anything other than itself. Carole is a banker, Amma is gay and a playwright, LaTisha has two kids by the age of 19, but they and everyone else we meet sing off the page as they negotiate their own way of being through the prisms of race and gender. In prose that defies many of the rules of punctuation, and feels all the more immediate for it, Evaristo — who was born in Eltham to a white English mother and Nigerian father, and has now written eight books on the African diaspora — summons up a limitless canvas of black female experience that’s by turns funny, acutely observed and heart-snagging. Terrific. ‘
Metro

‘This fast-paced, rhythmically composed, heart-rending Booker Prize winner centralizes and gives voice to 12 unforgettable black British women characters who are often marginalized and silenced in Britain due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, and class.’
The Atlantic US

‘Prize-winning novels carry uncomfortable baggage. On the one hand, they have been anointed Important Works of Literature. On the other, that Importance (always capitalized) implies a formal inaccessibility, a lack of interest to the passing reader. Sometimes, the winners of major prizes pose genuine mysteries (not least, why they were chosen). Other times, as with Bernardine Evaristo’s receipt of the 2019 Booker Prize, such novels are genuinely accessible, charming, and urgent.’
New York Journal of Books

‘In this snapshot of Britain from 1905 to the present day that unites Newcastle with Cornwall, Evaristo tells the tales of 12 interconnected characters who are mostly women and mostly black. Ambitious, flowing and all-encompassing, she jumps from life to life weaving together personal tales and voices in an offbeat narrative that’ll leave your mind in an invigorated whirl. This is an exceptional book that unites poetry, social history, women’s voices and beyond. You have to order it right now in fact.’
Stylist 
magazine

‘Spanning a century and following the intertwined lives of 12 people, this is a paean to what it means to be black, British and female. Evaristo’s prose hums with life as characters seem to step off the page fully formed. At turns funny and sad, tender and true, this book deserves to win awards.’
Red magazine

‘The lives of 12 very different, loosely connected black women are depicted in this marvellous novel that deliberately sets out to resist the notion that any one of their stories should be seen as representative of anything other than itself. Carole is a banker, Amma is gay and a playwright, LaTisha has two kids by the age of 19, but they and everyone else we meet sing off the page as they negotiate their own way of being through the prisms of race and gender. In prose that defies many of the rules of punctuation, and feels all the more immediate for it, Evaristo — who was born in Eltham to a white English mother and Nigerian father, and has now written eight books on the African diaspora — summons up a limitless canvas of black female experience that’s by turns funny, acutely observed and heart-snagging. Terrific. ‘
Metro

‘Three books recently published by great female writers should be on everyone’s holiday list. In Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo weaves together the stories of a range of women across continents. It’s a magnificent read from a writer with a gift for humanity.’
Observer – Summer Reads

‘This masterful novel is a choral love song to black womanhood.’
Elle magazine

Beautiful, hilarious and moving homage to what it means to be black and British. Girl, Woman, Other celebrates the rich variety of black women across generations.’
Refinery 29

‘A magnificent chorus of black British voices..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 
US

‘..the womenwith all their flaws, mistakes and desires on show, bite back, with wit, force, fierceness and wisdom.’
The Times

‘Evaristo is known for narratives that weave through time and place with crackling originality. Girl, Woman, Other is no exception.’
Vogue

‘Evaristo’s eighth novel brims with vitality…Evaristo writes sensitively about how we raise children, how we pursue careers, how we grieve, how we love…The form she 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

‘Superlatives pale in the shadow of the monumental achievement of Girl, Woman, Other. Few adjectives suffice…Evaristo’s verbal gymnastics do things language shouldn’t be able to do. It’s a Cirque du Soleil of fiction…Bernardine Evaristo is the writer of the year. Girl, Woman, Other is the book of the decade.’
Washington Independent Review of Books

‘This novel is a sure-footed triumph.’
India Times

‘Evaristo’s vital, joyous novel…daisy chains with warmth, wit and genuine depth of feeling across the span of recent black British history…Her writing is characterised by a dancing lightness throughout. It is often very funny…This lightness, this flux, is embedded in the pith of Evaristo’s prose. Her novel unspools down the page, stanza-like. Unconstrained by capitalisation or full stops, the story spills as – line by line – it slips from one voice to another…There is jeopardy and surprise in the way Evaristo propels the reader into empty space, before turning abruptly on the next beat – wrong-footing us in to laughter or a catch in the throat.
The Spectator

‘In its disregard for conventional arrangements of paragraphs and cut-and-dried syntax, the novel offers an irresistible invitation to dive right in: to be with its people, to question your own choices, motivations and assumptions, to recognise the role you play in shaping the lives of others and of our body politic. The use of different Englishes and registers of English forms an inalienable part of the work”s innate musicality.’
The Spider’s House

QUOTES

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.
Roxane Gay, 5-star review on Goodreads and her Best Book of the Year

Girl, Woman, Other is majestic. I absolutely adored it. It’s soaked into my skin. It’s one of the favourite novels of my whole life. This is what I read for, to find books like this one.
Russell T Davies, screenwriter, Doctor Who, Years and Years, A Very English Scandal, Queer as Folk

This is one of those truly important novels which show you your own culture and history in a revelatory new light and at the same time expand your sense of what the novel as a form is capable of – the two achievements being of course inseparable. Bernardine Evaristo combines, effortlessly, it seems, the compelling inventiveness of a great story-teller with the precision and economy of a poet – she has created a whole new form, which sweeps you irresistibly forward. The twelve women’s lives she recounts are woven without forcing into a magnificent structure, the whole thing shot through with wit, compassion and almost unnerving insight. It’s very funny, and very sexy. It seems to me a book to return to and to learn from – about the country we live in, and about the inexhaustible potential of the novel to give fresh accounts of it.
Alan Hollinghurst, Booker Prizewinner

I’m an avid reader, so Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other caught my eye in the bookshop. It’s phenomenal. Even though the stories cover different eras and places, her ability to form such solid characters really spoke to me as a woman of colour. And because the stories were set in England, it felt really close to home. She tackles so many of the challenges that women face today but in a beautiful non-cliche way. She’s a professor at Brunel — that’s where I went to university – and I felt a moment of pride.
Adwoa Aboah, model & activist, Guardian

Hilarious, heart-breaking & honest. Generations of women and the people they have loved and unloved – the complexities of race, sex, gender, politics, friendship, love, fear and regret. The complications of success, the difficulties of intimacy. I truly haven’t enjoyed reading a book in so long.
Warsan Shire, author of Teaching My Grandmother How to Give Birth & poet-collaborator with Beyonce on Lemonade.

Bernardine Evaristo’s books are always exciting, always subversive, a reminder of the boundless possibilities of literature and the great worth in reaching for them. Her body of work is incredible.
Diana Evans, author of Ordinary People

Once again, Bernardine Evaristo reminds us she is one of Britain’s best writers, an iconic and unique voice, filled with warmth, subtly and humanity. Girl, Woman, Other is an exceptional work, presenting an alternative history of Britain and a dissection of modern Britain that is witty, exhilarating and wise.
Nikesh Shukla, author and editor of The Good Immigrant

Girl Woman Other is brilliant. I feel like a ghost walking in and out and in again on different people’s lives, different others. Some I feel close to, some I feel I must have met and some are so ‘other’ that I have to stretch myself to see them. Mind expanding.
Philippa Perry, author of How to be a Parent

There is an astonishing uniqueness to Bernardine Evaristo’s writing, but especially showcased in Girl, Woman, Other. How she can speak through twelve different people and give them each such distinct and vibrant voices is astonishing. I loved it. So much.
Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie

Bernardine Evaristo is one of those writers who should be read by everyone, everywhere. Her tales marry down-to-earth characters with engrossing storylines about the UK today.
Elif Shafak, author of Three Daughters of Eve

Bernardine Evaristo is the most daring, ambitious, imaginative and innovative of writers, and Girl, Woman, Other is a fantastic novel that takes fiction and black women’s stories into new directions.
Inua Ellams, author of The Half God of Rainfall

For a fresh and inspiring take on writing about the African diaspora, there’s nothing like a new book by Bernardine Evaristo. Somehow she does it every time!
Margaret Busby, editor of Daughters of Africa

   

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