A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
Norwich, Galley Beggar Press, 2013, 203p
So this turned out to be a slightly unconventional choice of reading for my holiday in Italy...
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing tells the story of a young woman's developing maturity and sexuality, alongside the tragedy of her brother's haunting brain tumour and her mother's staunch Catholicism. The novel is written like an extended poem, with unusual sentence breaks and unexpected points of emphasis. Both it's content and form make for very difficult reading, but it is fascinating.
The two predominant themes of this novel are presented with frank honesty. The protagonist is abused by her uncle aged thirteen, and the consequences stay with her well into adulthood. The fact that her mother's religion is so loud alongside this makes it all the more difficult for her to move on. The style, with it's disregard for any of the formal rules of grammar and syntax, reflects her demise into mental instability.
This is Eimear McBride's debut novel, and won the Women's Prize for Fiction 2014. I have not read the full short list, but it is clear why McBride's book stood out - her style is incomparable to anything I have read before, and the story of her young protagonist is powerful and political. A few days after finishing this read, I am still distracted with thoughts and questions about it.