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3.0 out of 5 stars198
3.0 out of 5 stars
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on 6 February 2016
I really wanted to love this book, but I couldn't get through the first couple of chapters. Maybe I will try again soon.
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on 20 June 2014
I very rarely write reviews--it has to be something truly special for me to feel there's any point with so many other people doing so, but this is such an exceptional book, and so much silliness has been written about fads and fashion, that I felt compelled to have my say too. I have to start by saying that I think Joyce's 'Ulysses; is probably the greatest novel in the English language, so you'll have some idea where I'm coming from. You can't skim-read McBride's book they way you might consciously do with much fiction, the way we all do with almost anything we read to some extent--a skilled reader anticipates, fills in gaps in advance. This book doesn't let you do that--you have to read every word, you have to concentrate. But it's so well worth it if you can. An astonishing book (and how anyone who is able to read it fails to feel for the characters is totally beyond me--I've been reduced to streaming tears so I had to stop reading because I couldn't see anymore!). It's poetic, it speaks head language, it has much to say about families, about youth, about illness (and not just the illness of the brother), about religion (oh boy, it does!), about Ireland, and about just being human. It's probably a book for only a minority of readers--many will find it inaccessible--but that's probably true of all great writing (and I've never managed to read too far into 'Finnegan's Wake'--maybe time for another try!). This is a very special book. Thank you, my local public library for lending it to me. Now I need to buy a copy to keep and to treasure.
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on 7 April 2014
The way this book is written is unlike anything I have read before, it took me a bit of getting used to but once you get used to it it is very effective. It picks out elements of what the girl 'narrating' it is experiencing. It hints at what is happening, provides you with fragments. The story Is so sad and you feel such injustice without the girl ever descrbing in the first person any of her emotions. Its different. Its amazing
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on 6 August 2014
Awful. This book is a half formed thing!
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on 12 August 2014
Just not sure about this one. After reading all the positive reviews stating how brave the prose is, I felt I must enjoy this because I like a challenging read. Well I can say it was a challenge to read but not a pleasant one. Once I got into the flow I could follow and sometimes get completely lost in the prose. But every time I put it down I would have to go through the same process to get back into it which made my reading of the book very stilted. This is not a one sitting book, even if it is short.

The story in itself is sad, if not predictable. There are some very shocking scenes and unfortunately the ending fills you with relief not the sadness you might expect.
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on 6 June 2014
It doesn’t happen very often but I couldn’t finish this book. I couldn’t get into it and the lack of proper sentences just made me cross. Before you buy this book please read the sample pages first. I wish there was the option to give a no star rating.
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on 14 January 2014
Brilliant, searing and original. Written in disturbed and disturbing prose about a disturbed and disturbing young girl. I thought it was going to be a difficult read but I whizzed through it. Some sections are very moving, a great achievement when one considers the prose style.
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on 11 October 2014
Badly written
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on 16 June 2014
This is an extraordinary novel.

McBride's prose is dazzling: it's half formed, cut off sentences create a narrative voice that jumps off the page and grabs you and doesn't let you go till the end. Yes, the story is tough, with much of the narrator's childhood touching on the familiar Irish tales of catholic guilt, sex and violence, but the world McBridge creates feels so alive and real and tender and honest. It's an incredible achievement.
People have complained that this book is difficult. Maybe it is. But only at first. And even if it is, it's worth it, just like so many of the great books are.
This is a novel for fans of Beckett, Flann O'Brien, Joyce, Woolf, Nabokov.
It's a worthy winner of the Baileys Prize and if it doesn't go down as a classic, I'll be amazed.
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on 6 September 2013
Though many, including the LRB, can't resist comparisons to Joyce, the novel works very differently. It is 'experimental.' Not told in first or third person prose.

As McBride noted in the Irish Times, "I tried to write what I saw in my head. So it was based on images, not words." Settling into the style, reading with just the right speed, you can see and feel and perceive as the narrator. In flashes and drawn-out pauses. The effect is so much more than narration. So much more than a 'stream of consciousness.' It IS what the girl is experiencing. You ARE 13 years old being shagged by your uncle: "when we were young were young." YOU are a little ruined forever. In that way, the books is not so neatly contained. Not a casual performance taken in from the cheap seats.

Best reading yet of 2013. It's been hard to turn back to anything else.
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