It’s the night of the opening of The Last Amazon of Dahomey and playwright Amma Bosu has been an outsider for so long that it’s weird imagine her play opening at the National Theatre to She’ll see her old collaborator Dominique, who left for the United States after falling in love with a member of a wimmin’s collective. And then the story moves to Dominique, and then to Yazz, Amma’s daughter and so on, as twelve lives come into focus, of various ages, politics, and gender identities, spanning the broad spectrum of the Anglo-African-Caribbean feminist experience. I enjoyed the voices, the complicated connections between the characters (there’s a little bit of name changing to keep you on your toes), and the philosophical arguments, of which there are many. I wasn’t even thrown by the lack of periods, though I do love showing the pages to people, following up with a reassurance not to worry - they won’t even notice the missing punctuation after a bit. If reading this makes you think you might love Girl, Woman, Other, I can reassure you that you absolutely will!— Daniel Goldin
WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE
"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.
About the Author
Anglo-Nigerian writer Bernardine Evaristo is the celebrated author of eight books and 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.