Spanning a century and starting and finishing with Amma, a feminist playwright, this unique story seamlessly brings together the loosely linked lives of twelve black women in Britain. Their experiences are many and varied; from school teacher to banker, from social influencer to farmer and to cleaner, their challenges and triumphs are universal and personal.
Offering new perspectives on gender, race and privilege, this engrossing and entertaining story perfectly matches a convention defying style with its vibrant and original characters.
This title is also offered as part of the Narrative Muse Book Club.
View this title on the Narrative Muse website
Mixed reviews this month. One member loved this book, its strong characters and novel punctuation. Others felt there were too many characters to ever get to know any of them in depth which led to a disconnect and lack of empathy for them. One member thought it funny that every man in the book was bad. And another that it seemed the author has a "list" of minority groups she felt she needed to tick off and include in the book. A bit contrived perhaps. Not all Booker Prize winners are a good read, ha ha!
A great discussion, lively at times. Some found the format difficult to start with but quickly found the writing, characters and setting encouraged the reader.
Some really enjoyed this book - about half of the group would give it 5 stars. Some felt they "should" finish it but found it challenging, especially the bits that delved further back into the past. However the different experiences of reading provoked a great discussion.
It is hard to score this book as our group was down the middle. 50% loved it and found the style easy to read and would recommend it, while about 50% disliked it, didn't like the way it was written nor the content. I would suggest that it was possibly the age difference - almost a generational difference.
Hard to get into. Didn't enjoy the style. Very confronting topics.
Our first BDS book - we found it chewy, challenging, edgy and gritty. There was a varied response to the book from our group, some gave it 5 stars and others gave it 2, although we all agreed it was wonderful to discuss - we talked for hours about it! We all found the second half easier to read, perhaps once we'd adjusted to the writing style.
Loved the poetic writing. Wonderful insight to a diverse community and people.
Great read - enjoyed by all. Colourful characters - and language! Really liked how it came full circle in the end.
Fascinating read, a little confusing in the early stages. Not enjoyed by all, but thoroughly enjoyed by some.
"One of the best, if not THE best, we have read for a long time". ( A comment decided on at our meeting about the book). We'd highly recommend it.
Great book, great discussion! A couple of members found the book hard to get into, but those who read it loved it. So many interesting topics for discussion.
Mixed response to this book. Most of us loved it. A great read and highly recommended. The range of characters threw us all a little but we forgave the author.
The book was really informative and enjoyable. Engendered lots of discussion.
An insightful easy read, and the style was appreciated.
Lively discussion. Some members had listened to interviews with Bernadine Evaristo and found this very helpful. One reader felt this was not a Booker prize-winning book.....
Unanimous - all thoroughly enjoyed this book, despite some reservations at the start!!
A remarkable book. The content, the issues discussed, the clever interweaving of the 12 lives depicted, the beautiful command of language - it was quite an experience. The notes were excellent, and helped discussion.
Mixed reviews. Some either didn't finish or didn't start the book, finding the style of layout, lack of capital letters and grammar too annoying. Those of who did found parts of it really good and the actual writing flowed, but parts of it were longwinded and boring.
Absolutely loved it. Beautifully written and so clever. A few members found the writing style a little difficult to begin with, but they persisted and loved it. An all time favourite for a few members.
Provoked interesting discussion about the style and themes of the novel. Great read, great ideas/characters and themes.
Everyone loved this book - so many wonderful stories and characters, and so much to discuss.
A really mixed reaction to this, our first BDS book. More challenging to some than others with regard to punctuation - most found it easier and more enjoyable the further through they read. Some found the interconnections between characters quite complex, but visual character webs helped. Loads of discussion and different insights and points-of-view shared. All were impressed with the author's research and skill in regarding historical and current issues.
All our members enjoyed this book once they got used to her style of writing.
We found the style refreshing without the punctuation and usual dialogue. We also enjoyed the range of characters and how they were all interconnected, though it became quite formulaic. Some parts were really funny and it was interesting to hear the stories from history. It was very insightful regarding being a coloured person and non heterosexual. Some of our group had previously read it - 1 got more out of it, and 1 enjoyed it less. Not everyone felt it was deserving of the Booker Prize, but the majority did. On the whole, it was well received. Great read.
A mixed reaction to this book, with some enjoying it and others not so much!
Interesting book. Lots of far-reaching discussion, especially around gender issues. Enjoyable.
Wonderful book - so well written. Hilarious at times and thought-provoking. Loved the style of writing and the links between the different chapters.
We had anticipated a difficult read but it was not too challenging at all - the writing was beautiful for the most part. It was complex for sure but all agreed the effort was well worthwhile.
Chimed most with women who grew up in England and remembered certain places and behaviours. Led to discussion on gender reassignment and whether there is more pressure now on youg people to 'make up their mind' perhaps too early (pre puberty). Lots of interest in the choices made by Megan/Morgan. Some enjoyed the 'poetic' feel of the unpunctuated writing. One was annoyed by lack of punctuation. A high level of engagement with this book and the author and the different coping mechanisms of the women depicted.
Good book, interesting style - will look for other books by this author.