Heaven: March Book Club - Girl, Woman Other

SarasaSarasa Shipmate
edited August 13 in Limbo
The Book Club pick this month is Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. You can find out more about it here.
This was one of my favourite reads of last year, and it was joint winner of the Booker prize along with Margaret Atwood's Testaments that was a Book Club pick last year.
Evaristo was on Desert Island Discs last year if you want to find out more about her. Apologies if you can't access that programme where you live.
I'll post some questions on or around the 20th.

Comments

  • I managed to book this out of the library, electronically, so I need to get on and read it.
  • MiliMili Shipmate
    I have read the first two character's chapters and am really enjoying it so far. I like stories where you get different characters' perspectives of some of the same events. The only drawback is it's one of those 'trendy' books that doesn't use punctuation. This means I have had to reread some sentences when I guess the imaginary punctuation wrongly. Personally I believe punctuation was invented for a reason and no matter who is choosing not to use it, I would always preferred they did!
  • My daughter read this and recommended it. I listened to the serialisation on Radio 4 and thought that it was ok, but not brilliant.

    Perhaps I should read the book.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    edited March 3
    I have had this out from the e-library before and passed on it as I wasn't in the mood for it at the time (it was a hold that I just didn't feel like reading by the time it finally became available). Checking the library again I see it's available with no need to place a hold. Perhaps I will give it a try this time, though if it's without quotation marks that's going to put me off a bit. For those who've read it, is it more like short stories or more like a novel? The summary says its about 12 different women, but are their stories linked/connected, or completely separate from one another?
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    It's twelve linked stories, so more like short stories, though they all inter-connect in some quite clever ways. I felt some worked better than others, and I'll be interested if people feel the same about that.
    I didn't find the punctuation off putting, but then I had a tutor who complained that there must be a shortage of full stops where I was. As the essay was on John Locke, who also appeared to be a stranger to full stops, I found that a bit ironic.
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I just finished my other library book this morning and checked out GWO, so I will be giving it a try and hopefully joining in with the discussion.
  • I listened to the audiobook version (from library) last year, its still relatively fresh in my mind, so I may have something to contribute! But I've just reminded myself of what I thought by reading my Goodreads review and this was what I said
    Great believable characters but a few too many for me to recall who's who and how they are all connected. And not enough plot for my taste...the whole book reads like background info about characters who appear in another story where things actually happen!
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    Very glad I decided to read this for this month's book selection since I'd passed on it before and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I do think either audiobook (as @Gracious Rebel read) or e-book, as I read, are less-than-ideal formats for this book as I really found myself wanting to flip back to see how the different women's stories were connected/related. I might have to make some notes! I'll save further comment for when we discuss it, but I read it in just over a day and found it very engaging.
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    I may be the only male shipmate reading this , but so far so good. More comment when discussion opens.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Here are some questions to get the discussion started, I don't think there are any spoilers if you haven't yet finished it. As usual feel free to answer as many or few as you like or add your own?

    1. Did you find the style, almost a prose poem, with its lack of full stops engaging or annoying?
    2. The book is more akin to a set of interlinked short stories than a novel. Did this work for you?
    3. Was there any one character or story you were particularly drawn to?
    4. Did you feel you had a greater understanding of the social and political issues addressed in this novel after reading it?
    5. Will Gompertz calls this 'very nearly great novel' as in his opinion it is 'not greater than the sum of its parts'. Do you agree?
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    Sarasa wrote: »
    1. Did you find the style, almost a prose poem, with its lack of full stops engaging or annoying?

    This is the sort of thing that bothers me in theory -- punctuation marks are there for a reason! dialogue is so much harder to read without quotation marks! -- but in practice, if the writing draws me in to a story, I barely even notice these stylistic details. I was aware that the conventions of punctuation were being played around with and sometimes ignored, but it didn't get between me and the characters.
    2. The book is more akin to a set of interlinked short stories than a novel. Did this work for you?

    It worked because I knew what I was getting into; I didn't expect it to have the structure of a novel so I wasn't annoyed when it didn't. It didn't really seem like interlinked short stories to me, either -- more like interlinked character studies? Each woman's story was almost a novella in that it told all about her life up to the present time of the story -- they didn't have the "feel" to me of short stories but rather of little biographies, almost. I was very intrigued by how the different women were connected to each other, and the way themes of race and sex interwove through all of them.
    3. Was there any one character or story you were particularly drawn to?

    I enjoyed reading them all -- found each one engaging as I was reading it -- even Penelope who wasn't at all sympathetic had points at which I could empathize with her. I probably felt the most connection with Shirley, because of a lifelong career in teaching -- there were a few things I could relate to in her experiences, including always feeling a bit more conventional and boring than friends who pursued a more artsy lifestyle.
    4. Did you feel you had a greater understanding of the social and political issues addressed in this novel after reading it?

    Definitely. I think the biggest thing I took away from it was the diversity of these women's experiences. Except for Penelope (well, as far as she knows!) these would pretty much all be women that could quickly be identified as Black women living in England (I guess the other exceptions would be Morgan being nonbinary and Dominque having moved to the US), but under that brief common description there was such variety in terms of whether they came from, the paths their lives took, etc. I just really enjoyed the richness and variety of it all.
    5. Will Gompertz calls this 'very nearly great novel' as in his opinion it is 'not greater than the sum of its parts'. Do you agree?

    Taking that sentence by itself, I'm not entirely sure what he means, so I went and read the whole review. I sort of see his point now -- if you're looking for something more from the novel as a whole -- some bigger, overarching story that all 12 character studies are contributing to -- that's not there. But I didn't feel the need for that. At first I thought there would be -- that something momentous would happen at, or around, the opening night of Amma's play that would somehow impact a bunch of different characters. However, by the time I got towards the end I could see it wasn't going to be that kind of story and I was OK with the kind of story it was. I do think it's a great novel; just not the novel that reviewer was expecting.

    Here's my own review of it on my book review blog, if anyone's interested. I'm so glad I read this, after passing it over last year when I originally got it from the library.

  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    It has been said that one of the benefits of fiction is to take you into a world other than your own. This book certainly did that. As I am neither black nor female not homosexual the first chapter certainly came as a bit of a jolt, though it did have its amusing bits, such as the ladies spinning out their time in a cafe convincing themselves that they were the most wonderful artistes even though nobody came to their shows. Fortunately it got a bit easier for me as the book went on.

    As it happens, I do have a little familiarity with the black milieu of South London, where most of the book is set, as my then girlfriend (now wife) spent several months as a sort of social worker there, so I was a visitor including for cricket matches at The Oval. But there was certainly a diversity in the various 'stories' , which like @Trudy, I found interesting and engaging. Occasionally , as with the stories of Shirley and Hattie, I was well into the story before being reminded that the main character was black. In fact, Hattie called to my mind the big strong farm-women of a country district in New Zealand where I once lived.

    As the prose sang in the rhythms of speech, I did not find the eccentric punctuation a hindrance. It seemed to me that a new paragraph marked "end of sentence" as effectively as a conventional full stop.

    I thought that the interlinking of the various stories (characters) worked beautifully, starting from the second chapter and going on from there. It reminded me of the one degree of separation (or at most two) that characterises the small island societies in which I have also lived. @Sarasa's OP was sufficient to warn me not to expect a tighter plot thread to be the backbone of the book, so I did not pine for that.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    edited March 22
    I read this more than a year ago and haven't been able to get a copy to refresh my memory, so my comments will have to be quite general.


    I'm more interested in experimental fiction than conventional, so I was excited by Evaristo's 'fusion fiction' -- it seemed to take me deeper into the fluid or fragmented interiority of each character, with echoes of the disrupted syntax or plotless writing of other black writers and poets, some of them groundbreaking African American (Toni Cade Bambera, Andrea Levy, Audre Lorde, Zadie Smith and of course Toni Morrison). I could get right into the characters' heads and the movement of their thought processes.

    I also wondered if the experimental forms might have been dictated by the layering of stories and voices from so many different places, stretching from Nigeria and West African roots to the Caribbean to a grittier London in the 1980s and the divisions of contemporary UK life. A big subtext in this novel is heritage, what queer black women have relied on in the older experiences and wisdom of black women who came before, who served as role models and inspired the next generation. The characters' thoughts and perceptions flow from past to present to past to future, from making nostalgic dishes of homecooked food to hearing music to marching in protests to family tensions and love affairs, all around and back again, polyphonic voices merging and moving apart. Wonderful rhythm in the flow.


    Amma was the character who appealed to me most, perhaps because I could follow her development as theatre producer right through the '80s to who she becomes in joining the mainstream after 40 years in the wilderness. I've always loved the untold stories of older women, so much rich, unguessed at history. And I also liked the complex unsentimental way lesbian and non-binary connections are described, lesbian separatism and problematic issues of control and conflict between women.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Thank you for the interesting comments so far. I'll answer my own questions over the next few days.

    1. Did you find the style, almost a prose poem, with its lack of full stops engaging or annoying?
    I loved the style and it really sucked me into the story. I read it originally last summer when I wasn't feeling well and I had a couple of happy days in bed reading it in long bursts. The way it was written made me feel I was inside the characters, rather than observing them from the outsdie.

    2. The book is more akin to a set of interlinked short stories than a novel. Did this work for you?
    I think Trudy is more accurate than I was that on the whole these are more interlinked character studies than short stories. Some of them could be short stories/novellas or even novels with a bit of tweaking. I'm thinking of Dominque's story in particular here, that could be turned into a thriller in the hands of a different author.

    A supplementary question.
    One thing that struck me about the book was how positive each of the characters was on the whole. Even when things went wrong they made the best of it. It was one of the things I liked about the book, but do you think there should have been thread where there wasn't a positive outcome?
  • MiliMili Shipmate


    1. Did you find the style, almost a prose poem, with its lack of full stops engaging or annoying?

    As stated earlier, I am a fan of traditional punctuation. However once I had read on a bit I did find it easier to understand the formatting and notice when people where speaking. I still would have preffered punctuation as it sometimes took me out of the engaging stories when I had to reread sections to work out who was speaking or to notice I had run two sentences together.

    2. The book is more akin to a set of interlinked short stories than a novel. Did this work for you?

    I didn't have a problem with this. I enjoy short stories and it was fun to work out how everyone was connected, some characters with obvious connections and others with surprising ones. The book never got boring because the lives of the women were quite diverse.

    3. Was there any one character or story you were particularly drawn to?

    I related to Shirley getting frustrated with the school system - I'm glad I was warned in university that teachers often do get burnt out later in their careers. Basically you start off feeling overwhelmed but passionate, become more confident and enjoy the job and then for many of us start to get tired of teaching and have less patience and with and optimism for the students. I personally am only doing casual teaching a couple of days a week now and doing disability care work the other days where I can focus on one of two people's needs at a time. This balance works for me, though I didn't miss teaching too much when schools were closed so I will see where I go in the next few years work wise. I wish Shirley knew about burn out and that she could change careers - it seemed like her husband earned well, so she wasn't stuck in teaching for financial reasons.

    4. Did you feel you had a greater understanding of the social and political issues addressed in this novel after reading it?

    I already have read a lot about these issues and studied some of them at university in social studies in the late 1990s, so I didn't feel like it added to what I already know, but I enjoyed reading about the issues in a fictional context in the characters' lives.



  • 1. Did you find the style, almost a prose poem, with its lack of full stops engaging or annoying?
    Much to my surprise, I found that the writing style completely disappeared as I was reading. I was expecting to be irritated by the lack of periods, quotation marks and other punctuation. Instead, Evaristo seems to have defined some of her own punctuational(!) conventions, and they worked. I'm not sure I would have described it as prose-poem so much as "writing the way one thinks or speaks."

    2. The book is more akin to a set of interlinked short stories than a novel. Did this work for you?
    I enjoyed that part of it. I had fun of putting the puzzle pieces together. I quite delighted in figuring out how the characters were related to one another. I never went as far as drawing a map or tree, but I was starting to carry one in my head. Whenever I saw another connection, I felt "Aha! here comes another perspective on something I've already seen."

    Recently I'm drawn to stories that encourage me to sit with different perspectives on the same or similar events or people. As I get older, I discover more and more how limited my sight is. When I read books that make me sit with varieties of viewpoints, I get the opportunity to practice (or to be reminded to do) this in other places in my life.

    @MaryLouise I like your description of this layering of stories.

    3. Was there any one character or story you were particularly drawn to?
    LaTisha's story drew me. She reminds me of many of the students I work with daily, whose lives have been complicated; who strive to reach beyond what their circumstances/disabilities/oppressions have led them to believe they are worth or can do. So many are amazed to discover how much having children changes their sense of worth and their awareness of their capabilities. ... and they still get caught by the Treys of the world <sigh>. as, I suppose, do we all, in our various ways.

    Bummi also spoke to me, giving me a glance at a life like some of my other students - the ones who have come from India, Bangladesh, Jamaica, the Philippines, or China with education and social prestige and are starting again here. I watched Bummi struggle with the shift from being seen as an educated woman to being a cleaner, and I think I might have a tiny glimmer of what some of our students are going through.

    4. Did you feel you had a greater understanding of the social and political issues addressed in this novel after reading it?
    I'm not really sure. I think that, as I mentioned above, I got some glimpses into how different people might experience their transitions into new lands. However, I also found myself wondering how other people would answer the question, "How important was it that the story be set primarily in England as opposed to some other country? Would a different country have made the stories different?" I don't have an answer to that - I'm really curious.

    One thing that struck me about the book was how positive each of the characters was on the whole. Even when things went wrong they made the best of it. It was one of the things I liked about the book, but do you think there should have been thread where there wasn't a positive outcome?
    Oh, yes, please! I would have appreciated that, and at first I thought Penelope's story might be heading that way. Penelope and Hattie's ending felt a bit to fairy-tale-like.

    (I have not been part of a face-to-face book group for almost 4 years now, and I'm missing that interaction terribly! I love the way people's comments spring off one another and how the ideas can be developed in a group. )
  • Grrr, I hate it when I make errors and miss the edit window. That should have been "too fairy-tale-like," of course.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate

    I have not been part of a face-to-face book group for almost 4 years now, and I'm missing that interaction terribly! I love the way people's comments spring off one another and how the ideas can be developed in a group.

    Maybe sometime we could experiment with a zoom group to discuss the books. I use zoom quite a bit, including for my 'real life' book group and that seems to work. I don't have a professional zoom account though so am limited to 20 minutes.
  • I'm limited to 40 minutesfor Zoom calls. But you can log in again. (So far it hasn't been necessary, I've been given continuous times, crossing fingers for tonight.)
  • A zoom group could be interesting. I'd want to think about it a bit more. Some hesitance about having my IRL identity show up, and general zoom fatigue at the moment. However, I'm not quite as "anti" as that might sound. I'd be interested to hear what others think.
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    Oops I meant 40 minutes @Curiosity killed . To avoid derailing this thread I'll mention zoom meeting on the main Ship of Fools Book Club -the 2021 Edition thread.
    To get back to Girl, Woman, Other I was glad that LaTisha and Bummi ended up being in fairly good places with their lives, as they were the two that I thought might have met with total disaster. As for Penny I sort of understood where she was coming from, though she was probably the least likeable character. I lived and worked in the areas of South London mentioned in this book where there are stunningly beautiful Georgian houses next to grim council estates. I found the ending where she was starting to consider her black identity quite endearing. I hope Hattie would be a good influence on her.
    To carry on with answering my own questions:
    3. Was there any one character or story you were particularly drawn to?
    I found the Dominque story interesting in how a strong woman could come under the influence of an even stronger woman. I liked the way Amma distrusted Nginza/Cindy. I thought at first it was jealousy, but she was right. I also knew nothing of the Wimmin's Land movement. I also liked Yazz, I thought Evaristo got over the wonderful mix of stone-cold certainty and naivety that is a young woman grow up. In fact the first section was my favourite all together.
  • MaramaMarama Shipmate
    First of all I must say that I really enjoyed the book, which had already been recommended (and lent) to me by my daughter
    1. Did you find the style, almost a prose poem, with its lack of full stops engaging or annoying?

    I’d been warned about this structure, but in fact I mostly stopped noticing it, only to be suddenly drawn back by a few lines where the verse form was particularly telling; the ironic comment, the ultimate reposte on a new line.

    2. The book is more akin to a set of interlinked short stories than a novel. Did this work for you?

    If you are looking for much of a plot, then you will be disappointed, but I found the series of portraits (this is what they are, rather than short stories) compelling. They have plenty of interior dialogue, as well as conversation, so we feel where the character has come from and her motivations, and it’s revealing to have the same event seen through different eyes. The interlinking of characters mostly works, especially if you’ve been warned about the structure.

    3. Was there any one character or story you were particularly drawn to?


    Yazz I thought a vibrant, funny and very revealing character (though probably not easy to live with!). Her take on her elders is irreverent – but she is prepared to work and will almost certainly do well. Her friends are an interesting group too, and I particularly enjoyed her chapter.
    I also enjoyed Hattie – strong, cynical and determined. She’d married and had a long-lasting and loving relationship with Slim, who manged to overcome local prejudice (interesting how the rejection and discrimination of Black people seems much worse in rural areas than in London) and was particularly clear-eyed about the failings of her family. The denoument might have been a bit OTT, but I didn’t mind – at least it happened to Hattie.

    4. Did you feel you had a greater understanding of the social and political issues addressed in this novel after reading it?

    I have been around debates about race and gender for a long time, so no, not much was new to me, but I thought them very well expressed in all their complexity. I thought the inter-generational issues interesting, the difference between first and second (third/fourth) generation migrants (which is very apparent here in Australia too).

    I found the variety of Black experience in modern Britain interesting, and the way it has changed. I left UK in the 1970s after living in Birmingham and having some experience of south London (I did a short teaching practice in one of the feeder primary schools to ‘Peckham School for Boys and Girls’). Then the dominant Black group was from the Caribbean, the Windrush generation and their descendants; this was the era of steel bands at the cricket. So I was a little surprised (though I shouldn’t have been) by the proportion of characters of more direct African descent in modern Britain. I liked that Evaristo also included Black people who have been in UK for a very long time – the slavery links, the seamen, the Black GIs. They of course existed in the 1970s, but tended to be hidden; the new National Trust colonialism project shows how these stories are now being told. I liked the sense of historical change, dynamism in the portrayal of Black Britain. Of course the other large BAME group (those of Indian and Pakistani descent) does not much feature – but that’s not what Evaristo was talking about.

    Thinking about questioning’s comment that this was a very British take on Black experience, and would be different say in USA, well yes, that’s true. Perhaps Black experience in USA is dominated by the results of slavery, while in Britain there is a more diffuse and varied experience of colonialism, including the experiences of slavery and indenture, but also including more indirect forms of control/influence. A French comparison might be revealing – similar in that colonialism rather than slavery is the dominant influence, but colonialism with a different philosophy, and in different places.

    5. One thing that struck me about the book was how positive each of the characters was on the whole. Even when things went wrong they made the best of it. It was one of the things I liked about the book, but do you think there should have been thread where there wasn't a positive outcome?

    Yes, it probably would have strengthened the book, but I don’t mind having something positive right at the moment!
  • SarasaSarasa Shipmate
    My answers to my last two questions:

    4. Did you feel you had a greater understanding of the social and political issues addressed in this novel after reading it?
    I liked the fact that this book helped me see things through the eyes of black women. I know the area a lot of them lived in and have worked with and in schools similar to the 'Peckham School for Boys and Girls'. I l always felt I was on the outside looking in as my background has far more in common with Penny's than Shirley's. I also found the whole Morgan strand introduced me to some challenging ideas about gender.

    5. Will Gompertz calls this 'very nearly great novel' as in his opinion it is 'not greater than the sum of its parts'. Do you agree?.
    I think I do on the whole, as the book feels rather all on the same level and by the end I was beginning to flag a little. That could have been because I read it in a couple of sittings and if I'd paced myself I might have felt differently.

    I'm glad most of you enjoyed reading it, it was probably my book of the year last year.

  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    I was intrigued to note that every shipmate who has posted about this book picked a different character as the one they could most relate to. It was a pity to me that so few joined this discussion, as the book is certainly an eye-opener for most of us.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    edited March 30
    I have enjoyed this conversation and just wish I'd had a copy of the novel at hand to refresh my memory. If I could slightly reframe @Sarasa's question about positivity, I'd say that this work set out to be affirming of black experience and show the resilience of women in contemporary Britain in overcoming entrenched prejudices and structures perpetuating racism, sexism and homophobia. In that way it seemed to me to stand in a black literary tradition of resistance and to speak to young black women in the diaspora -- I was struck on a first reading by so many echoes of tributes to other black women writing now from 'elsewhere' as a place of invisibility and dispersal, showing the strengths of black lesbians and outsiders in making a safe enough place for themselves in white societies. And I was very conscious as I read that Bernadine Evaristo is the first black woman to win the Booker prize and that is no small achievement.

    On a personal note, I've never been convinced that the 'likeability' of characters or their 'believability' are helpful criteria for this kind of fiction because although black authors are being filtered through a white publishing industry aimed at predominantly white readers, the issue of whether white women are able to identify with struggling or successful black women isn't the point. The struggle underlying the lives of all these women is one understood and shared by any black woman (and many women from marginalised backgrounds) engaging with this literary tradition, the excitement with which writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, or Yaa Giyasi follow one another's work and recommend new black writers from the diaspora on interviews and essays.

    It reminds me how many of us once sought out and passed along feminist fiction and autobiography by Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich or bell hooks, that sense of being on the cusp of a new writing that addressed us women in all our diversity and differences. While someone like Zadie Smith might put more spin and dazzle shafted with irony into her depictions of successful affluent academics and middle-class black families, there's a similar subtext of what it takes to get somewhere in urban Britain or America.
  • HelixHelix Shipmate
    I'm late to this thread but I still want to share - noting that my sharing is a bit sparse because I tend to "skim-read" and the brain doesn't really retain very much

    1. Did you find the style, almost a prose poem, with its lack of full stops engaging or annoying?

    No. I loved it! It felt fluid, wild, free, and somewhat a stream of consicousness, enthusiastic and so on.

    2. The book is more akin to a set of interlinked short stories than a novel. Did this work for you?

    Yes and no. I wasn't aware that this was how this book was written and so after the first chapter, I had expectations that the book was going to be about a mother and a daughter, then I had expectations that everything would come together at the end. As it was, there was a lot of unfinished business it felt to me - but then that is how life is really. Life is messy and complicated.

    It took a while for me to figure out that it was a series of short stories that overlapped a tad, and so I feel the need to re-read it at a later date (I have a thick pile on my bedside table of books to read first) with the knowledge that each chapter is a well-stocked insight into an individual's life.

    I was somewhat disappointed at the end - but this is the result of expectation. But it did feel a bit like an anticlimax.

    I had never read a book quite like it and so it was a fun adventure. I'm sort of glad I didn't know what I was letting myself in for as it added to the experience.

    3. Was there any one character or story you were particularly drawn to?

    I liked the daughter - but all of the characters evoked something in me. The disappointments felt, how bitterness crept in and so on. I felt deep compassion and it made me think of some of the crotchety people around me (perhaps others would consider me to be one of the crotchety ones) and how we just don't know what has happened in the past.

    4. Did you feel you had a greater understanding of the social and political issues addressed in this novel after reading it?

    Yes I think so - superficially but certainly it broadened my mind.


    5. Will Gompertz calls this 'very nearly great novel' as in his opinion it is 'not greater than the sum of its parts'. Do you agree?

    I don't think I understand that.


    I don't think I would have read this book had it not been on book club. I don't consider myself a great book club person as I do skim read - so can't discuss in detail - but I am glad to have read the book so thank you so much for the suggestion.

    I will also add - I liked the chapter lengths and that they were broken into bite-sized chunks. It made it very pickupable when there was a 10 mins down time - or longer.

    Thank you.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    @Helix's post reminds me I didn't respond to the comment by Will Gompertz, whom I know as an art critic rather than a literary reviewer. He's astute about Evaristo's novel and mostly appreciative. He may be right, if tying all the ends together and having an over-arching structure is what the novel should be about, some grand design that is finished and complete. All the same, I don't mind the unresolved aspects; the unresolved realism appealed to me since I too feel with Helix that 'Life is messy and complicated'.
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