She is a very sensitive and kind-hearted lady. There is sometimes the sense that Evaristo loves all of her sentences a little bit but few of them quite enough. Evaristo’s wit helps, too. When you are feeling your way into new ways of living, she understands, there must be room for error. “Girl, Woman, Other” is a big, busy novel with a large root system. Cindy is tough; she aims her cultural commentary as if into a spittoon. Girl, Woman, Other as a Contemporary Text The text in parts oozes satirical cynicism. You begin to feel you are always between terminals at a very large airport, your clothes and toiletries in a little wheelie suitcase behind you. Amma’s play opens at the National. Was this split decision a dereliction of duty on the jury’s part or is more the merrier? Dominique greets her backstage and says, “afro-gynocentricism caused a femquake tonight.” The ground rattles further for another character when she gets the results of a mail-order DNA test. Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Another, Hattie, is 93 and lives on a farm in Northern England. Two Nobel Prizes in Literature were distributed this year as well, for a different reason. She thinks: “You never know people until you’ve been through their drawers / and computer history.”, ‘Girl, Woman, Other,’ a Big, Busy Novel About New Ways of Living, Bernardine Evaristo, whose novel “Girl, Woman, Other” shared this year’s Booker Prize with Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments.”, Two Nobel Prizes in Literature were distributed this year, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.”. "Girl, Woman, Other" is described as a polyphonic novel about the intersections of identity. “Girl, Woman, Other” is a big, busy novel with a large root system. There’s a looseness to her tone that gives this novel its buoyancy. Success has taken her out of range of some of her old anxieties about life, and put her in range of awkward new ones. Amma is anxious about the reception of this new production and misses her friend Dominique, with whom she ran an indie theatre company for many years before Dominique moved to America. Evaristo’s lines are long, like Walt Whitman’s or Allen Ginsberg’s, and there are no periods at the ends of them. This slice of the story is semi-autobiographical. It currently features … Her play ‘The... Shirley. There are passages galore that put different sectors of society firmly in its place. Amma and Dominique bonded over their shared feminism and negative experiences as black women in theater. After scanning the cable news most nights, I’d hardly be averse to voting for the cast of “Oklahoma!” for president in 2020. Yazz describes herself as “part ’90s Goth, part post-hip hop, part slutty ho, part alien.” We learn how useful a hijab can be when you want to have a hands-free cellphone conversation. Iris Murdoch, in 1967, wanted the Beatles to be jointly named Poet Laureate in England. The same is true of Evaristo’s. This looseness can detract as well. (The gold medal, diploma and check were withheld last year because of sexual harassment and corruption in the Academy.). This dedication will prompt many readers of my acquaintance to rush inside, and just as many others to flee in the opposite direction. [Bernardine Evaristo, the first black woman to win the Booker Prize, talks about her mission to write about the African diaspora.]. Amma’s story is followed by 11 others that drift back and forth in time. There comes a point in this narrative where you’d rather settle into the characters you’ve met than be introduced to still more new ones. It’s possible to admire this deeply humane novel while permitting your enthusiasm to remain under control. It's told from the point of view of 12 British women of color who range in age from 19 to 93. Amma is walking through downtown London on the morning her play, The Last Amazon of Dahomey, is opening at the National. Another character in the book is Shirley, who is Amma’s friend. Girl, Woman, Other Summary and Study Guide Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of “Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernardine Evaristo. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends … Dominique worries that her penchant for sleeping with blonde women means that she’s been brainwashed by a beauty ideal. A few, like squirrels on two-lane blacktop, will lose all composure and become roadkill. If privilege is the original sin of wokeness, what happens when you accumulate privilege yourself? It follows the lives of 12 characters in the United Kingdom over the course of several decades. Dominique dates an American woman named Nzinga, a “radical feminist separatist lesbian housebuilder” with epic dreadlocks and a “swamp-diva-voodoo-queen” vibe, only to discover that her real name is Cindy. Girl, Woman, Other Character List Amma. Amma turns around in her mind the implied whiteness of a British accent. Evaristo was co-founder, with two other women, of the Theater of Black Women in the early 1980s. Identity — artistic, cultural, familial — is slippery in “Girl, Woman, Other.” Yazz gets a surprise when she opens a drawer under her father’s bed. When you purchase an independently reviewed book through our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Girl, Woman, Other is the eighth novel written by Bernardine Evaristo, published in 2019 by Hamish Hamilton. The novel begins with the introduction of Amma as she walks through the National Theatre of London. The book was the co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize alongside Margaret Atwood's The Testaments, and has since received twenty-five Book of the Year and Decade honours, alongside recognition as one of Barack Obama's Top 19 Books for 2019 and Roxane Gay's Favourite Book of 2019. Carole keeps Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” as her ringtone because she wants to appear classy, and repeats a morning mantra: “I am highly presentable, likable, clubbable, relatable, promotable and successful.”. 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. A lot of human experience is packed into “Girl, Woman, Other.” Penelope, who hasn’t had sex in ages, thinks to herself: “It had been a long time since she’d been seen in a state of undress by anyone other than the matronly bra-fitter at Marks & Spencer.”. This essentially plotless novel grows longer, but it does not always appear to grow richer. Amma and Dominique started their indie theater company so that they could make art on their own terms, without betraying their politics. For example, page 408 made me smile, grimace and in part feel ashamed in equal quantities. It’s a surprise she deserves. Amma founds a theater company with a friend. One character, Carole, attends Oxford (she complains about the “revolting Stone Age food”) and becomes an investment banker. everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Girl, Woman, Other. She’s even tougher on Dominique. A reason to stick around: Like Bechdel, Evaristo has a gift for appraising the lives of her characters with sympathy and grace while gently skewering some of their pretensions. Perhaps this is a health-giving direction. The characters start to arrive (Amma, Yazz, Dominique, Carole, Bummi and LaTisha) and they keep arriving (Shirley, Winsome, Penelope, Megan/Morgan, Hattie and Grace). “Girl, Woman, Other” is written in a hybrid form that falls somewhere between prose and poetry. Girl, Woman, Other - Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis Bernardine Evaristo This Study Guide consists of approximately 56 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Girl, Woman, Other. We meet these characters’ friends and sometimes their families, too. Bernardine Evaristo’s eighth work of fiction, “Girl, Woman, Other,” shared the Booker Prize this year with Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments,” a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale.” These novels are linked for posterity now, like conjoined siblings.