Ordinary People (Paperback)Diana Evans (author)
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The drama of the everyday is at the heart of Diana Evans vibrant third novel. Opening on the night of Barack Obama’s inauguration, Ordinary People captures the lives of two couples, navigating the landscape of black and mixed-race middle class domesticity, parenthood and the unravelling confines of the settled-for life. Evans prose is sparklingly light on its feet and brings pathos and humour to an insightful examination of modern life so filmic it even has its own soundtrack. As the Guardian says, Ordinary People is an accomplished novel, brought to life by ‘the sheer energy and effervescence of Evans’s funny, sad, magnificent prose.’
Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019
Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019
South London, 2008. Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning, on the brink of acceptance or revolution.
Melissa has a new baby and doesn't want to let it change her but, in the crooked walls of a narrow Victorian terrace, she begins to disappear. Michael, growing daily more accustomed to his commute, still loves Melissa but can't quite get close enough to her to stay faithful.
Meanwhile out in the suburbs, Stephanie is happy with Damian and their three children, but the death of Damian's father has thrown him into crisis - or is it something, or someone, else?
Are they all just in the wrong place? Are any of them prepared to take the leap?
Set against the backdrop of Barack Obama's historic election victory, Ordinary People is an intimate, immersive study of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, friendship and aging, and the fragile architecture of love. With its distinctive prose and irresistible soundtrack, it is the story of our lives, and those moments that threaten to unravel us.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 245 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 22 mm
'I am shouting from the rooftops to anyone who will listen about this book. It’s so so good – realistic and funny and so truthful it almost winded me' - Dolly Alderton
'Thoughtful and intelligently observed... Evans's delicate prose weaves issues of racial identity and politics into the narrative so that they never feel heavy-handed...a deftly observed, elegiac portrayal of modern marriage, and the private - often painful - quest for identity and fulfilment in all its various guises' - The Observer
'Achieves a moody, velvety atmosphere, as though events were unfolding under amber-tinted bulbs...offers a precise sketch of the British black middle class, with a daring fifth-act twist' - Katy Waldman, The New Yorker
'Evans gives us romance going cold with just as pitiless a precision as Flaubert in Madame Bovary... Evans's prose is magnificent: it's as if she measured each sentence, trimmed the excess weight, then fitted it into place' - The Daily Telegraph
'One of the very many things that makes this book exceptional is the even-handed sympathy and unflinching fidelity with which Evans charts the changing weather both of her protagonists' emotions and family life. She excels at dialogue and she's also a soulful lyrical chronicler of London in all its moods and guises' - The Daily Mail
'It could easily be reimagined for the screen, though the film would not capture the sheer energy and effervescence of Evans's funny, sad, magnificent prose' - The Guardian
'There is something radical in how Evans depicts the lives of young, black people, faithfully, fully and quietly' - The Financial Times
'Ordinary People is a very funny book...a reminder of the power that only the novel has: to show you a familiar world from someone else's perspective' - The Evening Standard
'Sparkling... Rich, complex and quietly extreme, Ordinary People is a forensic study of human relationships, one that finds, like the best novels, universality in the specific. It is also a supreme London novel... In short, it's a joy from start to finish' - The Literary Review
'Does literary fiction have a blind spot when it comes to race? When a novel like Diana Evans's Ordinary People feels unusual, you have to wonder... This is a wonderful novel - generous, clear-sighted and rich with the old-fashioned pleasure of characters you're left impatient to revisit' - Metro
'Ordinary People sings with every word. The writing is pitch perfect, the underlying politics of race and gender is never heavy handed, and the characterisation of south London is enviable. I know these streets and they beat to the music that runs through this book...a lyrical and beautiful story. It's a triumph' - Christie Watson, author of The Language of Kindness
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by Diana Evans
Pub Date: 05 Apr 2018
Sam W, Reviewer
Last updated on 23 Feb 2018
I Recommend This Book
There is some lovely descriptive writing in this... More
Melissa was always happy on her own, she never needed a man to feel complete. Maybe this was due to her father who was everything but a good husband and when her mother had finally left him, things got a lot better.... More
“Beautifully written, shame about the connotations”
This is a beautiful book and Evans' prose is stunning, almost poetic in places. Comparisons with Zadie Smith are inevitable. However, this novel did leave a bad taste in my mouth at places. By Ordinary People,... More
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