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A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing (2013)

por Eimear McBride

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,0626019,297 (3.62)122
"Winner of the 2013 Goldsmith Prize."Eimear McBride is a writer of remarkable power and originality."-The Times Literary Supplement"An instant classic."-The Guardian"It's hard to imagine another narrative that would justify this way of telling, but perhaps McBride can build another style from scratch for another style of story. That's a project for another day, when this little book is famous."-London Review of Books"A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is simply a brilliant book-entirely emotionally raw and at the same time technically astounding. Her prose is as haunting and moving as music, and the love story at the heart of the novel-between a sister and brother-as true and wrenching as any in literature. This is a book about everything: family, faith, sex, home, transcendence, violence, and love. I can't recommend it highly enough."-Elizabeth McCracken"My discovery of the year was Eimear McBride's debut novel A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing."-Eleanor CattonEimear McBride's acclaimed debut tells the story of a young woman's relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumor, touching on everything from family violence to sexuality and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma.Eimear McBride was born in 1976 and grew up in Ireland. At twenty-seven she wrote A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and spent the next nine years trying to have it published"--… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 59 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
To say this demanding, brutal, and fractured novel is not for everyone is a terrific understatement. With a style inspired by James Joyce and a bleakness that Cormac McCarthy would be right at home with, it's no surprise that it took almost a decade to find a publisher, though once it did it took in a number of awards: Irish Novel of the Year, Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, the Goldsmith's Prize for fiction that "opens up new possibilities".

Essentially, the novel is about a young woman who suffers from a series of emotional and physical abuses and her own self-destructive behavioral responses to this abuse. Her father abandons the family before she's even born, while her toddler brother has a cancerous brain tumor. Her mother reacts by submersing herself in obsessive religiosity. Her uncle rapes her when she's 13. She comes of age and escapes to the city, acting out in self-harm but at least free to grope towards something better, but then her brother's cancer returns and she goes home and it all goes rotten.

The novel is written in fractured style, ignoring any and all good rules of grammar. This makes reading it hard work, except for those times when it feels like as the reader you get in a groove and can flow along with the rhythm of the words, understanding meaning on the conscious level, yes, but also catching meaning that seeps up from your subconscious. This didn't always happen for me and when it didn't the book felt like a struggle, but when it did, the book felt like genius. The fractured syntax could be said to reflect the protagonist's damaged state of mind, and this is very effectively the case as the story arc descends into greater horror and the writing becomes even more garbled and inchoate.

To illustrate the style, here's what I thought was a sterling passage describing what you might say was the beginning of her existence as a sexual being, around puberty:
Like smoke in my lungs to be coughed out. I'd throw up excitement. What is it? Like a nosebleed. Like a freezing pain. I felt me not me. Turning to the sun. Feel the roast of it. Like sunburn. Like a hot sunstroke. Like globs dropping in. Through my hair. Spat skin with it. Blank my eyes the dazzle. Huge shatter. Me who is just new. Fallen out of the sky. What. Is lust it? That's it. The first splinter. I.
( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
An extraordinary, unusual and captivating novel way unlike anything I have ever read. It is difficult, both to read and to handle; but it is great. It is, of course, a story about a girl and then her as a young woman, and her brother. Their mother also is significant. ( )
  RickGeissal | Aug 16, 2023 |
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing reads like Eimear McBride wrote the whole thing as a stream of consciousness, hung it on the wall and then fired full stops at it from a sawn-off shotgun. The whole thing is riddled with randomly-placed periods that defy the reader's attempt to engage in the story. Frequently there are three or more periods in what would scan as a normal sentence, ripping your attention back into the mechanics of reading rather than enjoying the novel. Some people can get past this kind of writing; I couldn't.

If the above is no hurdle for you, the novel tells an affecting tale about a young Irish girl growing up with her seriously ill brother and religious single mother. Serious mis-steps during her teens turn her into a promiscuous rebel and sadly weakens her relationship with her brother and mother. A family crisis occurs that brings the conflict to a head.

Some of the writing is quite musical and the story is interesting enough but, as I said above, McBride has vandalised her own novel by making it as difficult as possible for the reader to engage with her characters and their lives. Too much artifice has killed the art. ( )
  gjky | Apr 9, 2023 |
This book left me gasping. I am not sure I can even rate it to be honest. I can't really say I enjoyed it. But at the same time, the last chapter was so powerful and emotional that I also cannot bring myself to give it a low rating. It's literary, but not beautifully written. It's frustrating, but not boring. It's honestly not quite like any other book I've read; if nothing else, it is original.

If I had gone into reading this book with some expectations, I think it would have been better. So in case you are feeling daring, here's what I might like to have known going in.

1. This is experimental fiction and written in a most challenging voice. And I never really quite got the whole hang of it after 200 pages. It was almost how I might imagine reading in a second language would be if I chose a book that was too hard for my fluency level. I got a lot of it. But I didn't get it all. Hoping it will dissipate as the book goes on? Know that it doesn't. Some reviewers call it "stream of consciousness", but I can tell you that I don't talk like this book does inside my own head. It is all from one perspective, but it is more muddled.

2. The book is dark, dark, dark. It has repeated instances of sexual violence, yet the way the scenes are written, they are more emotionally impactful as opposed to truly graphic. Your own mind fills in the blanks. It was darker than [b:The Road|6288|The Road|Cormac McCarthy|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1439197219s/6288.jpg|3355573] or [b:A Little Life|22822858|A Little Life|Hanya Yanagihara|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1446469353s/22822858.jpg|42375710]. Be prepared.

3. The book is short in terms of page length, but it doesn't read short. It really requires concentration.

All in all, I think as I look back, this book will be one that I will never forget. It is also one I will never go around recommending. The audience for a book like this one seems pretty narrow to me, but I can also see it being the type of book that makes the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list.

Readers, you've been forewarned. I'm still a little breatheless. ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
Unrelentingly dark.
Unique writing style took a few chapters to get used to before I stopped noticing it, swept away in the beauty of it.
Damn 'literary fiction' and the motherfucking Catholics. ( )
1 vote mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 59 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
It is a testament to McBride’s erudite yet brazen originality that the novel can thoughtfully speak back to some of the great texts of Western literature, while at the same time reading as though it were created entirely out of thin air.
 
McBride’s language … justifies its strangeness on every page. Her prose is a visceral throb, and the sentences run meanings together to produce a kind of compression in which words, freed from the tedious march of sequence, seem to want to merge with one another, as paint and musical notes can. The results are thrilling, and also thrillingly efficient.
adicionada por Widsith | editarThe New Yorker, James Wood (Sep 29, 2014)
 
"Formidable," in both its meanings, best sums it up: This is a novel that initially intimidates, but after we have adapted to McBride's rhythms, its creative and emotional power renders us awe-struck.…This is brave, dizzying, risk-taking fiction of the highest order.
adicionada por Widsith | editarStar Tribune, Malcolm Forbes (Sep 20, 2014)
 
“A Girl” subjects the outer language the world expects of us to the inner syntaxes that are natural to our minds, and in doing so refuses to equate universal experience with universal expression — a false religion that has oppressed most contemporary literature, and most contemporary souls.
adicionada por Widsith | editarThe New York Times, Joshua Cohen (Sep 19, 2014)
 
“A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing” is an extraordinarily demanding novel that will fascinate dozens of American readers.…You either let this strange novel teach you how to read it and grow accustomed to its impressionistic voice, or you suffer through what feels like a migraine in print. But I’m not convinced that pride of endurance is sufficient reward for completing “A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing.”
adicionada por Widsith | editarThe Washington Post, Ron Charles (Sep 16, 2014)
 
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"Winner of the 2013 Goldsmith Prize."Eimear McBride is a writer of remarkable power and originality."-The Times Literary Supplement"An instant classic."-The Guardian"It's hard to imagine another narrative that would justify this way of telling, but perhaps McBride can build another style from scratch for another style of story. That's a project for another day, when this little book is famous."-London Review of Books"A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is simply a brilliant book-entirely emotionally raw and at the same time technically astounding. Her prose is as haunting and moving as music, and the love story at the heart of the novel-between a sister and brother-as true and wrenching as any in literature. This is a book about everything: family, faith, sex, home, transcendence, violence, and love. I can't recommend it highly enough."-Elizabeth McCracken"My discovery of the year was Eimear McBride's debut novel A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing."-Eleanor CattonEimear McBride's acclaimed debut tells the story of a young woman's relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumor, touching on everything from family violence to sexuality and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma.Eimear McBride was born in 1976 and grew up in Ireland. At twenty-seven she wrote A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and spent the next nine years trying to have it published"--

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