Eimear McBride: The Lesser Bohemians


The latest addition to my website is Eimear McBride‘s The Lesser Bohemians. Many critics raved about her first novel, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, which won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. I did not share their enthusiasm, finding her disjointed sentences distracting and annoying without adding anything to the book. This novel starts off in the same way but, fortunately, it gradually becomes more conventional. However, I still find sentences that stop half way and arbitrary fragments to be distracting. The story is straightforward. In 1994, Eili, an eighteen year old Irish woman, has come to London to study at drama school. She meets a man twenty years older than her, who is just becoming a successful actor. She yields her virginity to him and they start an on again off again on again off again affair. Both have demons but he, in particular, has major ones that prevent him having a straightforward relationship with a woman. Both have several flings during the relationship and both use drugs and alcohol to excess. Can the love of a good woman (with her own demons) save him? It is not a bad book but nor is it the great book that some critics have made it out to be.

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