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.
"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
"The ambition of this novel, the inventive structure and syntax, the grand scope, all make for the most absorbing book I read all year. The characters are so richly drawn, so intimately known by Evaristo, and so perfectly rendered on the page. This novel is a master class in storytelling. It is absolutely unforgettable. When I turned the final page, I felt the ache of having to leave the world Evaristo created but I also felt the excitement of getting to read the book all over again. It should have won the Booker alone. It deserves all the awards and then some." - Roxane Gay, Gay Magazine
"Exuberant, capacious, and engaging . . . Complex, astute, painful, funny, enlightening, and most of all enjoyable . . . An elegant and compulsively readable account of the black women of England . . . Plumbing the many dimensions of her characters' lives, Evaristo revels in universals and singularities alike . . . The final scene triumphantly pulls together the novel's dominant themes. I laughed, I cried, I turned the last page fully satisfied." - Rebecca Steinitz, Boston Globe
"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
"[Girl, Woman, Other is] about almost everything. Politics, parenthood, sexuality, racism and colorism, immigration, domestic violence, infidelity, friendship, love, all the ways we misunderstand each other, the way life surprises us with its unfolding. This is a partial list . . . Bernardine is here to turn on the lights, give you your money's worth, and let you decide for yourself." - Marion Winik, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Deserves every accolade, and more . . . A creative and technical marvel--a sprawling, unpunctuated, and improbably joyful account of twelve interconnected characters in modern-day Britain . . . A book so bursting with wit, empathy, and insight, its clear-eyed reflections on race and feminism hardly ever feel like polemics; there's too much pure, vivid life on every page." - Entertainment Weekly