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Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Literary Fiction

By Swirl and Thread

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Girl, Woman, Other is the award-winning, exceptional novel by Bernardine Evaristo. Published in paperback with Penguin, this is a novel like no other. It is such an authentic piece of work, one that completely seduces the reader from the opening chapters.

The book is divided into five chapters and an epilogue. The first four chapters each focus on the lives of three women, in total twelve women throughout the book. They each have a story to tell. Each one revealing histories and back-stories that are so poignant, heart-breaking and joyful in so many different ways. These narratives read almost like a collection of short stories and are so expertly intertwined, it’s almost impossible to imagine how the author conceived it.

Crossing generations, Bernardine Evaristo explores how it is to a woman, a black woman in modern society. Each narrative centres around one main character, but there are many other players in the tale that add to the chaos and the colour. Many relevant themes are sensitively handled with the author demonstrating her extraordinary talent throughout.

What is really fascinating about this book is the manner in which no two characters are the same. They each have their own very personal experience but in many cases, although all have friends/family/lovers, they keep these very close to their chest. As the stories unfold we see crossovers, connections. We see a structure begin to form. Each section is very distinct and, to be honest, would be wonderful if fleshed out as separate novels in their own right. Although very serious issues are being highlighted throughout the novel, there is also a wit, a lightness in a turn of phrase that adds to the overall complexity and authenticity of these incredible women.

Girl, Woman, Other is quite the unique read. Bursting with a vibrancy and a passion that I’m not so sure I have ever experienced before in a book, this is a book that shouts at you demanding your full attention at all times. It is almost effervescent, bubbling over with so much that scintillates and crackles.

Girl, Woman, Other has plenty of reviews that will speak of individual characters and their stories, that will go into the finer detail of the politics and the issues raised so I will not repeat that here. Suffice to say, Girl, Woman, Other is a remarkable read. It will leave your mind in a tizzy, trying to piece together what you have just read.

Girl, Woman, Other is a dynamic, shifting tale, a beautiful, superb and just simply brilliant novel that I will definitely return to in the future.

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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