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A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride

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Adult Book of the Month

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride
Published by Galley Beggar in 2013

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing tells of a young girl growing up in difficult circumstances in the west of Ireland. With an absent father, a fiercely controlling Catholic mother and a sexually abusive uncle, the girl grows up under a long shadow cast over her life by her brother’s childhood brain tumour. Although feeling intense affection for her brother, the girl struggles to establish her own identity , embarking on a trail of self destruction in an attempt to find meaning in her life.

The story is narrated from inside the young girl's mind and is mainly addressed to her brother. An experimental novel, the book appears difficult to read at first, due to its short, fragmented, incomplete sentences but within a few pages, you are drawn into the story. McBride uses language to reflect the state of mind of her heroine and the language becomes more chaotic as the girl comes under increasing pressure.

Touching on everything from family violence to sexuality and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma, the book provides a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated young woman.

‘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

‘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

Eimear McBride was born in Liverpool and grew up in the west of Ireland. At twenty-seven she wrote A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing and spent the next nine years trying to have it published. The book won The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. It was also awarded the Goldsmith's Prize for original fiction and The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year award.