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What can I say except, wow. I loved this book. It follows many different stories and characters, over nearly a century. The blurb states; ‘this is Britain as you have never read it.’ Which is certainly true for me. Each chapter gives a new perspective and follows a character who’s life is intertwined with those before and after. It’s almost impossible to write a concise synopsis for such a complex book, so do yourself a favour and just read it, you won’t regret it.
In terms of tea, I would pair this book with a rooibos. It is rich and full bodied, just like the book. It has a smooth vanilla flavour which compliments the smooth flowing prose. Much like many of the characters in the book, it has its origins in Africa, and is grown and produced in the Western Cape of South Africa.
There are so many things I want to say about this book. It is a work of art, from the writing style up. I’ll admit, it did take me a while to get used to the lack of punctuation and capital letters, but once my inner grammar police were over it I realised the real beauty of it. Evaristo has dubbed the writing style ‘fusion fiction’, which is an apt title I’d say. It reads like poetry, or perhaps spoken word. I found it distracting and frustrating at first, but soon lost myself in the flow. It’s a clever writing style, I think, because it forces you to pay attention to what you are reading. It requires you to put in a little more effort than you usually would, and right now, isn’t that something we should all be doing?
Aside from the writing style, the pure genius of Girl, Woman, Other is in the story telling. All twelve lives are subtly intertwined and it is fascinating to follow them and see them cross paths. Evaristo switches seamlessly between characters and keeps up her wonderful flowing narrative throughout. There was never a dull moment, never a jarring leap in time, despite the story spanning roughly a century.
I found each character to be relatable even if I didn’t always like or agree with them. They were real in a way you don’t often see, three dimensional and tangible. This book offered me insight into lives and experiences I may never otherwise encounter. I am a British woman, so I find it exciting and insightful to read about the lives of these characters. It offers me a look at my country from a completely new perspective, and I am so grateful for that.
I do not have a bad word to say about this book. I think it is one of those that will become a timeless classic and should be on everyone’s TBR pile.
You can pick up a copy here.