Sunday, 1 July 2018

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

"And night. And us, sleeping nose to nose warm. Waking each other up for more."

Getting into the swing of reading this novel can take a little while. It is a slow burn. Its almost poetic style is at its most evocative when the action is its most intimate. When Irish drama student, Eily, moves to London she begins her journey into adulthood and if you had read McBride's other novel, you might guess that things can get rather dark.

This winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize is at its best when Eily and Stephen, her much older and troubled love interest, are in the bedroom. The sex scenes have an almost internal monologue, stream of consciousness  perspective that is powerful. So often you read sex scenes which just seem patently ridiculous or overly clinical, McBride manages to avoid both these problems and deliver something resembling the ethereal confusion of lust.

Similarly, there are some absolutely gut wrenching moments when Stephen relates his tales of abuse and the story behind why he is an absentee father. 

What you have here are moments of gold painted on the page, interspersed with a little narrative confusion which can often detract from the reading experience. This is not a happy read, it is possibly one that may require a stiff drink after because it is rather intense. I'm really intrigued to read others' impressions who have read this.

4 out of 5 noisy landladies are a good idea to move away from.

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