I’m enjoying taking part in Non-fiction November already, and this week I’m going to post within the actual week rather than after it! I had seen this week’s prompt before when I was considering joining in, and thought I had nothing to contribute before realising that I had an easy win for it, in fact! This week is hosted on Sarah’s Book Shelves and involves pairing up non-fiction books with fiction. Some people have posted loads of exciting pairings and I’ve been enjoying reading them, but I think other people have shared just one, as I am doing here.

I have picked two recent reads, because I read them partly in parallel and, while one covers a shorter time period than the other, I feel that they feed off each other and each adds dimensions to the other.

Bernadine Evaristo’s “Girl, Woman, Other” looks at a whole century of Black British Culture, with characters ranging back to the part-Ethiopian mother of the oldest character in the book, a 93 year old Northumberland farmer and forward to a student millennial who’s full of all the latest theories on intersectional issued, gender and race. You can read my review on this blog here, and I have a longer but maybe less personal review up on Shiny New Books, too, here.

Clair Will’s “Lovers and Strangers” covers a wider and at the same time narrower remit. Dealing with just the first generation of immigrants immediately post-Second World War in the UK, she looks at everyone from displaced Central European citizens to the Irish population to immigrants from the Commonwealth. You can read my review from yesterday here.

So many of the themes are made clearer by each book reflecting off the other. “Lovers and Strangers” while a work of non-fiction and history, uses immigrants’ narratives of their journey and settling in the UK, sometimes told in memoir, sometimes in fiction. “Girl, Woman, Other” fleshes out people into round wholes and shows the networks of their relationships within their communities and outside them. I do recommend reading them together and I’d say both are vital reads if you want to understand more about the different people who make up our wonderfully diverse communities in the UK.