Bernardine Evaristo’s eighth book Girl, Woman, Other brims with vitality ... Evaristo writes sensitively about how we raise children, how we pursue careers, how we grieve and how we love ... Previously, Evaristo has written verse novels, prose novels and drama among other types of literature, and the form she chooses here is breezily dismissive of convention. The flow of this prose-poetry hybrid feels absolutely right, with the pace and layout of words matched to the lilt and intonation of the characters’ voices ... Evaristo celebrates the mix of African and British in all of our DNA; moreover she captures the shared experiences that make us, as she puts it in her dedication, 'members of the human family.'
... a big, busy novel with a large root system ... Lorrie Moore has written that Ann Beattie’s fiction is a valentine to friendships. The same is true of Evaristo’s. This novel is a densely populated village where everyone leans on one another in order to scrape by ... presents a landscape of abiding multicultural sensitivity ... Evaristo has a gift for appraising the lives of her characters with sympathy and grace while gently skewering some of their pretensions. When you are feeling your way into new ways of living, she understands, there must be room for error ... written in a hybrid form that falls somewhere between prose and poetry. Evaristo’s lines are long, like Walt Whitman’s or Allen Ginsberg’s, and there are no periods at the ends of them ... There’s a looseness to her tone that gives this novel its buoyancy. Evaristo’s wit helps, too ... This looseness can detract as well. There is sometimes the sense that Evaristo loves all of her sentences a little bit but few of them quite enough. This essentially plotless novel grows longer, but it does not always appear to grow richer ... 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. 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. It’s possible to admire this deeply humane novel while permitting your enthusiasm to remain under control.
...a triumphantly wide-ranging novel, told in a hybrid of prose and poetry, about the struggles, longings, conflicts and betrayals of 12 (mostly) black women and one non-binary character. It’s also, to my mind, the strongest contender on the [Booker shortlist], a big, bold, sexy book that cracks open a world that needs to be known ... There’s a freewheeling, exploratory feel to the novel ... At times, these fragmented paragraphs read like poetry, at other times like a Whatsapp conversation. All of this could have been schematic, preachy, and the prose can become weighed down by political correctness. But humour always undercuts the woke messages. All the women are morally compromised, most have screwed up somewhere down the line. Evaristo’s job is to observe, to broaden our minds and to be funny — often very funny indeed — about their hypocrisies.