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Booker Prize 2019 Longlist: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

girlwoman

(UK)

Book number 10 read and rated by Book Worm, Tracy & Anita.

Synopsis from Booker Prize website: Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of 12 very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.  Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: Regular readers will know I am not a fan of short stories so when I saw that this was a linked short story collection I was sceptical. I needn’t have worried the stories are linked in such away that it reads like a novel and I loved how interconnected all the women were, I enjoyed looking for the cross overs in each story.

Usually I am not a fan of books that don’t use punctuation however the way this story is laid out the lack of punctuation didn’t bother me. In fact I could see that missing the punctuation out gave a natural flow to the story. The layout on the page also made reading it a pleasure unlike some books which lack punctuation. I am looking at you Ducks.

Each of the women felt real and unique and I loved the way multiple sexualities, genders and ways of living were showcased without feeling like the author was trying to ram the message down your throat.

Writing quality: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Character development: 3/4
Plot development: 3/4
Overall enjoyment: 2/2
Total: 16/20

Anita’s Thoughts: My favorite author is Elizabeth Strout, and for me, this book approached character development in a very similar fashion to Strout while adding in Toni Morrison-like poetic touches to wonderful effect.  This novel revels in telling the stories of a very diverse group of women (background, upbringing, sexuality, etc.) without taking itself too seriously and without hitting the reader over the head with a social justice message. The characters are well rounded, not necessarily politically correct, but always sympathetic. It’s really not a plot driven book at all, and personally, I related a lot more to some chapters/characters than others. The end uses two chapters to tie together the whole narrative, and I thought one of the two was successful while the other was less so. Frankly, I didn’t need the chapters to be tied together, and I would have been satisfied to read this book as a short story collection.

The writing style is worthy of comment. It waivers between prose (without punctuation) and poetry, and for me, it totally worked. The poetic parts elevated the otherwise very accessible writing into the literary zone for me.

If I were to be critical, I think the fourth segment was not as well done as the first three, and that might tire some readers. With so many characters, close attention is necessary, and the final section felt a little bit like piling on unnecessarily and seemed more forced than the other three.

But I absolutely love authors who truly can reflect humanity on the page, warts and all, without forcing the reader to take a side. Evaristo is my type of writer, no doubt.

Writing quality: 5/5
Originality: 4/5
Character development: 4/4
Plot development: 2/4
Overall enjoyment: 2/2
Total: 17/20

Tracy’s Thoughts: I loved this book. The vignettes of each character, the relationships they developed, everything. My heart broke, I laughed, and I pondered. I got involved with their lives and shouted advice to the characters.

The writing was fresh, and though there wasn’t much in the way of plot, the story moved along, with interconnections between the characters creating a sort of plot.

I hope this gets shortlisted!

Writing quality: 5/5
Originality: 4/5
Character development: 4/4
Plot development: 2/4
Overall enjoyment: 2/2
Total: 17/20

Rankings

The Man Who Saw Everything 18.2
Girl, Woman, Other 16.66
Lanny 15.92
Frankissstein 15.2
Quichotte 15
My Sister, the Serial Killer 14.6
An Orchestra of Minorities 13.66
Lost Children Archive 13.3
10 Minutes 38 Seconds 12
The Wall 11.57

What are your thoughts on this one will it make the short list

 

 

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great reviews – I like the format and how you give good reasons for your opinions. It’s nice to see the same book reviewed by different people – all in one place. I think I’d like Girl, Woman, Other. Happy Monday!

    Liked by 2 people

    August 26, 2019

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