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Girl, Woman, Other

Narrated by: Anna-Maria Nabirye
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (138 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Winner of the Booker Prize 2019.

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020.

Teeming with life and crackling with energy, told through many distinctive voices, this novel follows the lives 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 sparklingly contemporary, Girl, Woman, Other is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever dynamic and utterly irresistible.

©2019 Bernardine Evaristo (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The actress Anna-Maria Nabirye projects the characters superbly: she has a full, low timbre and a powerful directness." (The Times)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Very dull narration

This may not have been a candidate for audio. Lots of monotonous basal tones.
Interesting characters and clearly there’s a need for these stories but there was not enough plot to keep me interested.

1 person found this helpful

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Human courage and beauty, entrancing

A fine piece of writing, a woven basket of ways of being, read well. Both moving and inspiring.

1 person found this helpful

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  • deb
  • 15-11-2019

Read it, the narration is an issue

I understand why this book won the Booker prize (albeit shared with the Testament, which I don’t think should have won the Booker!). It is a compilation of short stories, eclectic voices of women of colour from different times, places, gender choices, sexual desires, backgrounds & every other diversity you can think of.
I think the narrator was the problem for me. Her voice was a little monotone & preachy at times. Or was the book didactic? Also the pace was too quick & there weren’t pauses between the chapters.

But I certainly recommend this book & think I need to read it rather than listen to it.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good not Great

I started Girl Woman Other with huge expectations, as this was clearly a record-making booking. It had forced the hands of the Booker judges to split the prize for the first time ever. Clearly the Booker judges regarded this book as every bit as good as Atwood’s and it had beaten other great works on the short list, including Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte
So I guess I should make myself clear - Girl Woman Other is a good novel - one I would have said I ‘quite liked’, had it not been for the huge expectations with which I had started reading it.
The story, or stories as there are several strands,never really took off for me. I couldn’t see any of the kind of character development that makes you fully identify with a character (perhaps I did a bit with Anna). In the end the book gave me little more than a typology of how to be a modern person and live the sexuality and gender that feels right.
I love the politics of the book, and if I was still teaching a university course on feminism, I would use the book as a text. But is this a book that will stay with me for the rest of my life? Has it given me a new way of looking at the world? Nope.

2 people found this helpful

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Superlative

An utterly captivating listen. Excellent narration. Evaristo deserved to win the Booker Prize outright for this compelling masterpiece.

2 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly Enjoyable Read

Wonderful portrayal of 12 Black women with razor sharp insight. Their stories told with humour, insight and sometimes confronting conventional attitudes.

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Extremely dull

I struggled to finish this. Definately not my cup of tea. I don't know why this won the Booker prize.

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  • Wendy
  • 19-11-2019

Great novel - flaws in narration.

Great characters and story, but let down a bit by the narrator who, although she has a good quality voice, often pauses (or doesn't pause) where she should, with incorrect emphasis. Many words are mispronounced, which indicates that the narrator is not familiar with the word itself. I agree with another reviewer who says the narrator needed someone in the recording sessions to direct her performance, spot the mistakes and fix them. Surely every audiobook performance is supervised by someone other than a sound engineer? I found myself listening out for the next mistake, and the next one, But I still enjoyed the story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ana-Maria Gavrila
  • 17-10-2019

A thing of beauty...

Not a review, only to say that I definitely didn’t expect it to be as remarkable.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharon
  • 19-03-2020

Nothing happens!

So yeah. I thought this would be an interesting read, and it won The Booker. How could I go wrong, right? With one click of a button it seems. The narrator did well but the author should learn what a story is.

The premise is a good one and I liked some of the characters but absolutely nothing happens in this book. It is just about ordinary women and their ordinary struggles. I like a plot, I like a beginning middle and a satisfying end. This had nothing.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-2020

Book for the new times and a new world

I would recommend this book to women who want to explore gender identity. It has some good parts and I particularly like the ending and the linking of the stories. Sometimes you don’t know how the stories will link up but I guess that’s the beauty of the book. Sometimes I thought it was very trendy and New Age. But it’s nice to read such a book in some ways to hear how people live and experience life. Very good LGBT Book.

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  • S
  • 21-10-2019

Too many mistakes

It was jarring each time the narrator made a mistake. She even mispronounced the word “pronunciation”. The actor and drag queen, Divine, was referred to as Diveen. Hopefully, there will be a re-recording of the book as the story was very engaging.

52 people found this helpful

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  • EEL
  • 03-08-2019

Utterly terrible audio version of a good book

As a book, this is a compelling, diverting, well-crafted and beautiful story of 12 women and their twentieth and twenty-first century lives. The book itself is highly recommended. The audio, however, is not.

The actor here mispronounces so many words -- why did the audio editor or production person not tell her? She has a far smaller vocabulary than the author (who writes beautiful) and she doesn't understand the sense of many of the sentences she recites, putting the wrong expression into many clauses, pausing in odd places, generally ignoring the rhythm and meaning of the text. The mispronunciation involves removing syllables from words ('superority' for superiority, 'convality' for conviviality, and many more), inserting extra syllables ('VilINinus' for Vilnius, lustrious for 'lustrous'), and approximating unfamiliar words ('dissimating' for decimating, 'vivosity' for viscosity). She can't pronounce any of the French phrases used by the pompous professor father, making him seem dim rather than pompous, and she doesn't really differentiate voices for the characters. Her own voice is pleasant and well-produced, but she really needed input from the production team and/or author (plus more actor training). But the production team are also terrible in other ways: there is a lot of bad editing, which often leaves in the traces of stumbles in the reading or cuts them out inexpertly so the text doesn't flow. Penguin Audio presumably outsourced this recording to a small production company and didn't properly check the results--they should be derided for this since it is a serious disservice to the author of the book.

I would strongly encourage Evaristo to protest at the shoddiness of this production and demand a new recording. Her story deserves better.

154 people found this helpful

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  • Booklover
  • 21-11-2019

Good story but distracting narration

The narrator made so many mistakes in pronunciation that it detracted from my enjoyment of the book.

Particularly irritating was the fact that there were two characters - Waris and Bibi - whose names she pronounced in two different ways. War-is and Wear-is. Bibby and Beebee.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Vinca
  • 03-12-2019

A Great Book, but -

This story is lovely, an engaging and interesting account of several women's lives and how they interact with one another. It would have been such an enjoyable listen but for one thing. The narrator's constant mispronunciation of words. I'm not talking about things that are difficult to say, but words in common usage (it's deMONstrably not demonSTRAYably for example). It got to the point where I was counting how many words were wrongly spoken in a given time. Five or six within half an hour is far too many in my opinion, and it was really grating. I had to stop listening. Which was a great shame.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jo
  • 26-12-2019

Distracting narration

I found the narration too distracting to get involved in the stories being told. There were so many mispronunciations - did noone listen to this before it was released?

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-10-2019

best book I have read in ages!<br />

Fantastic narrator and fascinating characters. Excellent book. I couldn't stop listening to it. Beautifully written too. I cannot fault it.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Hackney Girl
  • 21-10-2019

A brilliant story - slightly spoiled by the reader

I actually listened to this book in one go. Very engaging and a real story of a range of today's womxn.
However, the reader made so many errors in pronunciation of words and phrases that it was rather irritating. She was better with the traditional African parts and OK with the Caribbean parts but didn't seem to have more than GCSE level understanding of English, if that.
I wonder why she was asked to be the reader!? But more concerning, I wonder why the publisher didn't get her to re-record all the bits she couldn't pronounce properly?

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mhairi
  • 31-10-2019

Brilliant

Absolutely beautiful, moving, well written, witty, and clever. I laughed, I cried, and I was educated. What more can you ask for from a book? Fantastic.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Happy reader
  • 15-10-2019

Best audiobook of 2019

Loved this. A story that really benefited from audio format. Wide ranging with huge appeal I cried at the end partly for the emotional conclusion mostly because it was over.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • DD
  • 16-12-2019

Great story, read poorly

Such an excellent story let down by really poor reading. The reader pronounced words incorrectly and it was difficult to distinguish between the characters. She read with one note throughout. Tbh, after a short time I decided that this was one that I was going to read myself because the reader was ruining it for me. How much better it would be if they could get a better actress to read this.

3 people found this helpful