Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Coffee House, $24), the debut novel that took down The Goldfinch for the Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction, may be remembered less for its plot than for its powerful emotional and linguistic punch. Inhabiting the headspace of a girl so ambitious and determined, yet so misguided and self-destructive, can be a brutal reading experience, but McBride’s style draws you in. Comparisons with Joyce’s style are apt, but McBride makes her anonymous narrator’s fragmented thoughts and warped reality much more lucid than those of Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus, and her pacing is relentless. Experiencing repeated sexual violence, the narrator develops an uncanny ability to seek solace for poisoned relationships in all the most devastating places, and while she struggles with these emotional complexities, her brother faces an even more overwhelming struggle with a terminal illness. McBride’s account of these siblings leaves you breathless, and finishing this novel is like waking from a nightmare you’d grown almost comfortable with—which confirms this young writer’s already unforgettable, masterful ability to bring a wrenching story to life.
A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing - Eimear McBride
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Coffee House Press - September 9th, 2014
Published: Hogarth - June 9th, 2015