What to read after Girl, Woman, Other
Joint recipient of the 2019 Booker Prize, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo became the must-have book of the year, sparking a renewed interest in her back catalogue of novels, and a gorgeous redesign of their covers. And with good reason: Evaristo’s powerful polyphonic prize-winner narrates the stories of twelve, predominantly Black women across Britain in a searing exploration of class, race, gender, and sexuality.
If you enjoyed Girl, Woman, Other, and have exhausted the rest of Evaristo’s extensive collection, then why not check out some of these titles?
Lives Like Mine by Eva Verde
Monica appears to be living the perfect life. Now approaching her forties, she is married to a man she fell in love with over a decade ago and is mother to their three wonderful children. But Monica is unhappy. As a mixed-race woman, Monica has experienced prejudice all her life. Now she watches in frustration as her own children endure the same, while her husband, Daniel, dismisses his relatives’ racism in the name of conflict avoidance.
When a school-trip throws Joe – a charming older father – across her path, Monica decides to take her life into her own hands, and the two begin an affair. Emboldened by the change, she begins to confront the secrets of her past – and her parents. But even as her independence grows, Monica realises that she is putting the life she has so carefully built at risk.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Celestial and Roy have it all. Newlywed and madly in love, he is a young executive, and she is on the cusp of an exciting artistic career. But their world is shattered when Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for a crime Celestial knows he did not commit. Although she tries to hold onto their love with their letters, Celestial finds herself adrift, and turns ever more to her childhood friend – and best man at their wedding – Andre. When, after five years, Roy’s conviction is abruptly overturned, they are catapulted back into each other’s lives. Roy expects to pick up where they left off in their home in Atalanta, but for Celestial it is no longer that simple.
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Ana Cancion does not dream of moving to America: she loves her home in the Dominican countryside too well. But when Juan Ruiz – twice her age and certainly no love interest – proposes, offering her a life in New York, she must accept. This marriage could eventually mean emigration and a new beginning for her family too. In 1965, at the age of only fifteen, Ana finds herself living as a wife in Washington heights, desperately at sea and feeling totally alone. She plans to escape, but is stopped by Juan’s charismatic younger brother, Cesar. And when Juan is forced by political turmoil to return to the Dominican Republic, Ana is finally given the opportunity to live, to experience America – and the growing attentions of Cesar – for herself. The Juan returns, and Ana must make a choice between the safety of her family, and her own desires.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Twenty-five-year-old Jamaican British Queenie is Carty-Williams’ disaster-zone of a protagonist you can’t help but fall for. Currently nursing a broken heart following the end of her long-term relationship with Tom, a white man whose love for her did not stretch to challenging his racist family, Queenie is struggling to find her place in the world. At her job for a national newspaper, within her more confident group of friends, and even within her own family, she constantly feels like she doesn’t quite fit. As she begins to unravel, Queenie embarks on several disastrous and damaging relationships, all the while wondering who on earth she really is.
Although this novel has frequently been compared to Bridget Jones, this is to do it a disservice. Queenie is far darker and more complex in the subjects it explores, and her journey towards self-acceptance and mental wellbeing is a vitally important lesson in today’s society.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018, Shamsie’s masterful reworking of Sophocles’ play Antigone is an exploration of immigration, identity and family bonds in a post 9/11 world.
Having spent years caring for her siblings after their mother’s death, Isma is finally free to pursue her own dreams, and accepts an opportunity for mentorship in America. But she still worries for her little sister Aneeka, beautiful and stubborn, and her brother Parvaiz who, determined to honour his jihadi father, has mysteriously vanished. When Isma and Aneeka’s worst fears concerning Parvaiz are realised, they wonder if Eamonn – son of a powerful political figure – might be his salvation. And perhaps, something more. But Eamonn has his own birth-right to live up to, and as their lives become inextricably intwined, each of them must ask what they are willing to sacrifice for love.