- Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction
- Format: Electronic book text | 208 pages
- Publication date: 7 April 2014
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0571317170
- ISBN 13: 9780571317172
With raw intensity and brutal detail, Eimear McBride's experimental debut novel tells the story of a young woman's traumatic coming-of-age in rural Ireland. The story centers on her relationship with her brother-and the long shadow cast by his brain tumour-as they cling to each other to survive their troubled childhood. Touching on everything from dysfunctional family violence and religious hypocrisy to self-destructive sexuality and the enduring bonds between siblings, McBride writes with a modern style that combines her mordant wit with an acute sensitivity and astonishing insight into the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma. Not so much a stream-of-consciousness as an unconscious railing against a life that makes little sense, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing is a shocking, intimate insight into the unbound thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist, as she struggles to be free even as her brother's terminal illness keeps her tethered to the family. With echoes of James Joyce's Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, the author's singularly original, syncopated and poetic style takes readers inside the narrator's head to experience her world first-hand-to witness the startling abuse from her Catholic mother, incest at the hands of a predatory uncle, and her later promiscuous encounters. This isn't always comfortable - but it is always a revelation. Winner of the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize, shortlisted for the Folio Prize, the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction, the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award, and longlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize. Readers of Samuel Beckett's How It Is, Edna O'Brien's Country Girls, Christine Brooke-Rose, John McGahern's The Dark and Henry Green's Living and Party Going will not want to miss out on this newest addition to the pantheon of contemporary avant-garde Irish literature.
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Eimear McBride was born in 1976. Her childhood was spent mostly in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, and later in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. In 1994, aged seventeen, she went to London and spent the next three years studying acting at Drama Centre. Much of her twenties were spent temping and travelling. At twenty-seven she wrote A Girl is a Half-formed Thing. She moved to Cork in 2006, and to Norwich in 2011, where she still lives with her husband and daughter. She is currently working on her second novel.