Girl, Woman, Other – by Bernardine Evaristo

1 06 2022

Another book I picked up in 2020 after George Floyd’s murder, in an attempt to educate myself and read more widely. But as a slow reader, and wanting to mix the books in with my other reading, I’m still working through them.

I’m sad to say, I was not fond of this book. My main issue with it, which was also an issue with Normal People, The Colour Purple, and Freckles, is that none of the speech has quote marks. I do not understand what this achieves other than making the book really hard to follow what’s happening, and to get into in general, which makes it take much longer to read. This one didn’t even have full stops; the only breaks were paragraph breaks where the narration just flowed through. It did have commas, thank goodness, but to be honest I felt lucky to get even them!

The story is broken into four sections, each of which has three subsections, each about a different woman. The groups of three are people who are linked to each other, but each story is quite separate. Then there are a few looser links between some of the women across the four sections. In a way it felt more like a set of short stories than one continuous one, which maybe explains why it just felt a bit like it didn’t really go anywhere. There is then a section at the end which I thought might tie it all together, but just visited in on some of the characters who happen to be at the same party, some of whom I struggled to remember their back story as there had been so many in between. After the end section there is an epilogue which ties two more ends together, but again I hadn’t been desperately wondering what happened to them.

I wonder if it’s just too high brow for me. It’s a Booker Prize winner, so clearly is deemed to be excellent. I’ve only ever read one other Booker Prize winner which was Life of Pi, and I truly loved it, which is why I wasn’t completely put off trying this one, but I may take a moment before deciding to try another. I’ve had slightly more success with the Costa Coffee Book Awards and the Books Are My Bag Readers’ Awards, so maybe they’re more my level!