Search This Blog

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Einear McBride

It is hard to know what to make of this book.  It is not at all surprising that it took the author ten years to get it published.  It is surprising that it has a wide and largely warm reception, winning a number of awards and being generally well received.  One reviewer said that if Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch represents a book beloved by critics and audience alike, this book is a complete disconnect.

The book is an unrelenting shower of bad news for the protagonist from beginning to end.  She is a young woman whose life is characterized by unending emotional betrayals and physical abuse. Her father abandons the family in the opening pages. Her mother is a religious fanatic who swings between the extremes of between begging the Virgin Mary for blessings and shrieking at her daughter for being a slut. Her brother has brain cancer. Her uncle begins sexually abusing her when she’s 13. Later, strangers rape and beat her. She turns to more incest and anonymous sex can blot out the pain of her life. But it is the writing style that makes the book stand out.  It is the elliptical and hard to follow narrative that sets the book apart from others with equally distressing trajectories, and makes it emotionally raw and real.  Give it a whirl.

No comments:

Post a Comment