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.
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. A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing is completely modern in its sensibility and completely old-fashioned in the way it triumphantly ignores the needs of the book market. It took nine years, apparently, to find a publisher. Who forgot to tell Eimear McBride about the crisis we are in and about the solution to that crisis: compromise, dumb down, sell your soul?