Wednesday 11 June 2014

You heard it here first

I blogged twice last year about Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-formed Thinghere and here.

Below is a selection of recent reviews of a novel that has now won (or 'scooped') the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize, the 2014 Kerry Prize and (last week) the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (beating the bookmakers' favourite, Donna Tartt) and which is currently shortlisted for the prestigious Desmond Elliot Prize. It's published in the United States by Coffee House Press in September this year and I urge American readers of this blog to find out for themselves why this little book has generated such excitement over here.

Eimear McBride is that old fashioned thing, a genius, in that she writes truth-spilling, uncompromising and brilliant prose. (Anne Enright Guardian)

A virtuosic debut: subversive, passionate, and darkly alchemical. Read it and be changed. (Eleanor Catton)

It is, in a single word, breathtaking. (Nicola Barker)

Addressed to her brother, the entire narrative is constructed in half-strung sentences, devoid of commas or dialogue demarcations but abounding in full-stops. This fragmented syntax is never self-conscious; rather it powerfully heightens the narrator's permanently fraught emotions and coheres into an immensely arresting novel. McBride is fully deserving of all her accolades; the question now is what she can produce next. (Sunday Times, Pick of the paperbacks)

A remarkable, harshly satisfying first novel. (Adam Mars-Jones London Review of Books)

A novel that redefines the novel - that not only takes us on an emotionally dense rollercoaster ride through the perils of intimacy and family life, but delivers the whole extraordinary story in a syntax that is flat out new and terrifyingly and wondrously imaginative. (Kirsty Gunn Herald Scotland)

A remarkable achievement. (John Boland Irish Independent)

A brutal and brilliant debut ... This book will arouse powerful emotions in anyone who accords it the respect of reading with attention. (John P O'Sullivan Sunday Times Ireland)

McBride's Joycean inventiveness depicts the girl's entire self, the prose cutting through to her feelings, impressions, thoughts and half-thoughts. The short, choppy sentences, and the novel's bleak vision are also reminiscent of Samuel Beckett. (Joanne Hayden Sunday Post)

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 as true and wrenching as any in literature. (Elizabeth McCracken)

The author's use of language is so unique, so instantly inimitable that McBridean deserves to be an adjective ... Writing like this doesn't come about too often, and when it does it should be lauded. (Toby Lichtig New Humanist)

The virtuoso violence of McBride's expression feels instinctive rather than artful, the only way to tell a story that can hardly bear to be told ... A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing is a familiar Irish tale told in transfigured Irish style, a lyrical prose-poem on horror and human endurance. (Alexandra Coghlan Monthly)

Do read this book. Message ends.

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