Girl, Woman Other
by Bernardine Evaristo
2019 / 464 pages
Read by Anna-Maria Nabirye
rating – 9 / lit fict – Booker Prize
(both read and listened)
The book doesn’t really follow anything or anyone – Rather it gathers the people who have connections to Amma Bonsu, a newly acclaimed playwright whose work deals with contemporary identity isssues – particularly those of black lesbians.
There are 12 central characters which each have their own chapter of background. It’s really this background which constitutes the book’s plot thrust.
I kept a little notepad with names on it to keep them straight but I didn’t really need it until the end when it certainly came in handy.
There are plenty of rave reviews out there and the only reason I’m not as enthusiastic about it as some others seem to be is that reading GLBTQ material is just not my thing. And I haven’t read a Black Lit novel since Americana by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie years ago.
“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.”
The Last Amazon of Dahomey is the play Amma has written and is being produced by her friends and coworkers.
The last survivor of the Dahomey Amazons is thought to have been a woman named Nawi. In a 1978 interview with a Beninese historian, Nawi claimed to have fought the French in 1892. Nawi died in November 1979, aged well over 100.
I don’t know whether I’m going to like it either.
I am so over identity politics…
I think you’d like it Lisa – but finish it because the ending is terrific (to me anyway).
Yes, I’ll get onto it soon, once I’ve recovered from reading my last chunkster, The Mirror and the Light. (800+ pages!)
Oh I’ve been reading The Mirror and the Light for about a month – since it came out. It’s probably the best of the trilogy but it’s not light reading and these days I’ve found it harder to concentrate so I’ve had to leave the book for big breaks. I might get back to it this week – hopefully. I’m at 64% – listening and reading.