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A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing [Kindle Edition]

Eimear McBride
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Audio, Cassette, Audiobook, Unabridged £16.99  
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Book Description





Eimear McBride's award-winning debut novel tells the story of a young woman's relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. It is a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist. To read A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing is to plunge inside its narrator's head, experiencing her world at first hand. This isn't always comfortable - but it is always a revelation.

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Product Description


Eimear McBride is that old fashioned thing, a genius, in that she writes truth-spilling, uncompromising and brilliant prose... The result is an instant classic an account of Irish girlhood to be set alongside O'Brien's The Country Girls for emotional accuracy and verve, and the sense of its overwhelming necessity. --Anne Enright,The Guardian

This is a simply brilliant book... emotionally raw and at the same time technically astounding. McBride's 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. I can't recommend it highly enough. --Elizabeth McCracken

I was repeatedly (as the author puts it) 'gob impressed'. Writing of this quality is rare and deserves a wide readership... Eimear McBride is a writer of remarkable power and originality --David Collard, Times Literary Supplement

Eimear McBride's ferociously intense and stylistically challenging account of a young girl's coming-of-age in rural Ireland is an astonishing literary debut...--Irish Independent

A brutally honest portrait of a young girl's coming of age, haunted by her relationship with a brother who has suffered a childhood brain tumour... McBride's story-telling is heartfelt and frank and the experience of reading her work is unforgettable.-- We Love This Book

A brutal and brilliant debut novel steps into a young woman s chaotic world... This book will arouse powerful emotions in anyone who accords it the respect of reading with attention. --Sunday Times

Remarkable, harshly satisfying first novel... it is exhilarating to read despite its predominantly negative emotions. Even when there s a strong convergence with Beckett ( Go on go on you can go on ) it seems remarkably unselfconscious, less a matter of stepping in someone s footprints than of sharing a shoe size.... 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

Eimear McBride's ferociously intense and stylistically challenging account of a young girl's coming-of-age in rural Ireland is an astonishing literary debut...

Book Description

A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride is an award-winning experimental debut novel, which tells the story of a young woman's traumatic coming-of-age in rural Ireland, as she struggles with her abusive family and clings to her relationship with her terminally ill brother.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 625 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction; Main edition (7 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JID6Y5K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,090 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By Bobbie
November reading-group book. [Spoiler alert]
The case for. Poignant evocation of sibling love in a malignant world, culminating in an excoriatingly accurate rendition of the incoherence of thought and feeling when someone you love is dying, is dead. Heartfelt. Raw, honest talent.
The case against: Should come with a health warning: don’t read in a northern November or if you’re depressive. Cancer, Catholicism, child abuse, impulsive promiscuity, masochism, rape, death, loss and suicide. Relentless staccato, experimental prose-poetry. You she he she you I I I. Yes, accomplished. Yes very. Yes oh but. Cup of tea. My. Not my. Not. 203 pages of solipsistic anguish. Over. Now. Phew.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story without stabilisers 25 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The first thing everyone says about this book is ‘it’s a hard read’.
It is. Unconventional in its prose style: confrontational in its subject. McBride’s fractured rendition of conversations and distinctively Irish English, plus the disregard for the norms of punctuation, dialogue tags or attribution makes the reader either work hard or relax.
I recommend the latter. Forget the fact standard reader-signposts are absent and realise you are not being told a story, but being drawn into an experience.

Our unnamed narrator expresses herself and her formative experiences with feeling rather than eloquence– as the author puts it, ‘balancing on the moment just before language becomes formatted thought’.

There is much to think about; familial bonds, the strictures and comforts of religion, the unfairness of disease, perceptions of self and identity as defined in the eyes of others and female sexuality and how it can be (ab)used. McBride neither shows nor tells of the love, shame and guilt battling within our protagonist. By dint of brutal poetry and risky narration, she makes the reader feel it too.

This is the third book I’ve read from independent small publishers Galley Beggar Press, and I’m so glad they exist. Otherwise books like this would not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The girl who is the protagonist has an older brother. He has a brain tumour when he is young, which is treated successfully. But not before the stress of the situation destroys their parents marriage.
Her mammy struggles to bring up the two of them up alone. The girl is a wild child wanting to spend all her time running and jumping in the Irish countryside. Her brother is led by her, much to her mammy’s distress. Then her Grandfather visits, sees her tumbling on the floor and her knickers flashing and pours scorn and shame on his daughter’s parenting. She beats the children for the shame they’ve brought to her and returns to the heart of the Catholic Church. Thus begins the start of the end of the girl’s life.

The novel is written in a first person, stream of consciousness style, directed towards her brother.

The first few pages are difficult to read as it starts when she’s very young. As you can imagine the stream of consciousness of baby is fast and easily distracted to say the least! But as she grows it starts to get easier. This may also be because you start to get the hang of her voice. The style is very staccato, punctuated by frequent full stops and odd words thrown in that could have been the start of a new

The style is very staccato, punctuated by frequent full stops and odd words thrown in that could have been the start of a new sentence, but then she rephrases or goes in a different direction. Memories of conversation drop into her consciousness and to begin with these threw me as well as the author does not use any speech marks. In fact, she uses no punctuation anywhere except the humble full stop.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Reading 18 April 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a mistake for me to purchase, no wonder it took 9 years to find a publisher. It is not main stream reading. It is essential you read the free sample available through Amazon before you buy. The style of writing is unusual as is the approach to the topic. I started at the beginning and read several chapters before going forward several chapters to try again and it still it had zero appeal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story but a bit too hard-going! 19 May 2015
By Pavanne
I "read" the audio-version after seeing the stage adaptation some time earlier and at first I thought how hearing the author read her story in the way in which it was intended helped to make sense of the text. Actually, I still feel it was helpful, but whereas in the first half of the book it managed to hold my attention, as the second half wore on my poor brain began to grow tired of listening. I did quite like the style of writing but the frequent ramblings which seemed to consist of any old word or two plucked from the dictionary and thrown at the page willy-nilly whether they made sense or not were too many and too often in my opinion. A very hard-going book which is a shame since I really loved the story.

I shall now re-write this review, but in the style of the book ...

I read. I. Not read. Listened. Shhh. Book on tape words not on page. Words. Just words. I. You. How? What? Kettle. Spring. Stage was seen but interest piqued, keen to read but more of this. I. You. Of that. Words. Waterfalls. Several bananas. A plankton party. Audio would make more sense I thought. And it did. Did for a while but grew weary. Shhh. Ears can't focus. I. Focus. Organ. Brain shuts down. For the words. To many. Too many words. Too many bananas. Apples would be preferred. Yes. No. Not. Yes. Apples. I. Carousel turning. Too many words and little sense made. Shhh. Waterfalls of words, too many for the plankton. A bit. A lot. Oh a lot. Story was fine but going was hard. Hard. Limescale on the kettle. Lacking in apples. I wonder.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant. Seldom have I felt so much
Heart rending, soul crushing, McBride's debut is a literary assault that will leave you reeling, and possibly crying into a glass of wine. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Adeline Fox
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult & Depressing
This was a difficult read on all levels. There was the use of language, which took me a couple of goes to get into and the subject matter itself. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Moira
5.0 out of 5 stars An angry scream of a novel
The Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction 2015 has recently been announced which seemed like the perfect time for me to get around to the 2014 winner, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Stephanie Jane
3.0 out of 5 stars like reading someones dream stream of consiciousness type of thing
now i can't remember anything about htis but I did read it! i seem to recall it made lilittle sense. like reading someones dream stream of consiciousness type of thing..
Published 2 months ago by J. Connelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good and prompt delivery - product as expected.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Caroline Jane Gordon
3.0 out of 5 stars A book with a half-formed plot
I was really looking forward to this one, what with all the lavish praise that's been heaped on it, the awards it's received, and the backstory. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Barry Bootle
1.0 out of 5 stars A half-formed book
I don't know how some books get published and hailed as masterpieces when they are so impenetrable. If Emma McBride was a friend of mine and had asked me to read it, I would have... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cathy Power
2.0 out of 5 stars Still reading this book. Cannot understand it at all ...
Still reading this book. Cannot understand it at all. Think the writer has written it in a way that the half formed thing sees the world. I may however be completely wrong.
Published 3 months ago by Kaz
1.0 out of 5 stars did not like it it
I did not like this book. It might be cleverly written, but not enjoyable nor pleasant nor educational... Nothing positive really for me.
Published 3 months ago by Kara
1.0 out of 5 stars I gave up on this book
It's really rare for me to give up on a book but I found the language in this book too complicated to enjoy. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Martha
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