A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing

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Product Details
$24.00  $22.32
Coffee House Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 1.0 X 9.1 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author
Eimear McBride was born in 1976 and grew up in the west of Ireland. At twenty-seven she wrote A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and spent the next nine years trying to have it published. In 2013 it was the recipient of the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize. She currently lives in the UK with her husband and daughter.

"A jolting, unforgettable voice. . . . A novel both formally innovative and psychologically unsparing."--New York Times

"It is, in all respects, a heresy--which is to say, Lord above, it's a Future Classic"--New York Times, Sunday Book Review

"A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing is indeed conventional in places, but in most respects the novel is blazingly daring . . . [McBride's] prose is a visceral throb, and the sentences run meanings together to produce a kind of compression in which words, freed from the tedious march of sequence, seem to want to merge with one another, as paint and musical notes can. The results are thrilling, and also thrillingly efficient."--The New Yorker

"Be prepared to be blown away by this raw, visceral, brutally intense neomodernist first novel . . . readers can't help but be pulled into the vortex of this devastating, ferociously original debut."--NPR

"It was a really astonishing book. We felt that from the first time we read it--it stood out from the crowd. . . . It's incredibly original. It has a raw energy we all responded to. It has real lyrical qualities even though the subject matter can sometimes be so shocking."--BBC

"A life told from deep down inside, beautiful, harrowing, and ultimately rewarding the way only a brilliant work of literature can be."--Michael Chabon

"This is brave, dizzying, risk-taking fiction of the highest order."--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Eimear McBride's A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing is simply a brilliant book--entirely emotionally raw and at the same time technically astounding. Her prose is as haunting and moving as music, and the love story at the heart of the novel--between a sister and brother--as true and wrenching as any in literature. This is a book about everything: family, faith, sex, home, transcendence, violence, and love. I can't recommend it highly enough."--Elizabeth McCracken

"a heartbreaking but stunning read, a portrait of suffering barely visible under cloudy water."--Chicago Tribune

." . . powerful debut novel . . . Those who persevere through this challenging story will have read something unforgettable."--Publishers Weekly, "Pick of the Week"

"McBride calls to mind both Joyce and Stein in her syntax and mechanics, but she brings her own emotional range to the table, as well. . . . open-minded readers (specifically those not put off by the unusual language structure) will be surprised, moved and awed by this original novel . . . This is exhilarating fiction from a voice to watch."--Kirkus, Starred Review

"A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing is a gorgeously odd novel. . . . McBride's style, which she has called an attempt to capture 'the moment just before language becomes formatted thought, ' is the most remarkable aspect of the book."--NPR

"What is fascinating here, and what should induct the novel into a more enduring canon of women's writing, is that McBride never self-censors when engaging with the pain, the abjection, and the desperation generated out of situations in which a woman is granted little more than her body and her words to use as weapons within imbalanced power structures."--The Los Angeles Review of Books

"[W]ritten in a Joycean stream of consciousness with an Irish lilt, and sentence fragments transmit the pervasive sense of urgency, of thoughts spinning faster than the tongue can speak . . . an unforgettable novel."--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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

"Undeniably, gut-punchingly beautiful."--The Austin Chronicle

"It is always a wonderful and satisfying thing to hear that an unknown debut author has won a major prize for writing. . . . And when the news that the unknown writer winning the big prize is being published in the United States by Minneapolis' Coffee House Press, well, the news is all the more welcome."--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Ven-true-some read-ers who per-sist will find that Mc-Bride's sear-ing hon-es-ty and lin-guis-tic prow-ess pay huge di-vi-denudes."--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"[I]t was heartening to observe that the most talked about book of the season, at least among the people I was around, will be published in the United States by the tiny and prescient Coffee House Press. It's called A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, and it's by Eimear McBride--look out for it in September."--The New Yorker

"[McBride's] style is never alienating; if anything, it's almost stiflingly intimate and sustained, retaining its power as the narrator becomes an adult. The result is stunning, a portrait of suffering barely visible from the surface."--Chicago Tribune "Printers Row Journal"

"By the end of the novel, when the siblings are quite far from slug races, the narrator's question--'What if we were young, were small again?'--is liable to break your heart."--The Riveter

"Eimear McBride is unrelenting in her vision, and drags you into the muck and the current after her and her unnamed girl, not even asking you if you want to drown."--The Rumpus

"A Girl is A Half-formed Thing announces the arrival of an ecstatic new talent."--The New Daily

"A gut-wrenching and haunting coming-of-age tale composed in a profoundly affecting staccato style."--San Francisco Chronicle

"[An] audacious, brutal, bracingly jagged-edged debut."--Boston Globe

"A wonderful but harrowing first person stream of consciousness . . . it truly is one of the most extraordinary things I've read in the last year."--Harper's Bazaar

"Imaginatively told and poignantly resonant, this debut is one of the year's best books."--Largehearted Boy

"[McBride's language] might take some getting used to, but let it flow through you--the life she's writing will feel that much rawer for it."--GQ

"A page-turner and a slow burn at the same time . . ."--Vanity Fair

"I can't remember the last time I was as thrilled by a book as I was by A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. Sitting on my couch, I had to refrain from whooping with joy at the sheer daring of the thing."--Bookslut

"A self like safety glass after the wreck."--New York Magazine, "The 10 Best Books of 2014"

"It's a glorious and painful read from the first page to the last."--Book Riot

"[McBride] reframes our expectations of prose and clarifies an urgent reality: we are all half-formed, to some degree."--Colorado Review

"A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing insists, ultimately, that though the body communicates, there are limits to its being communicated. The Girl stumbles around in this narrataive space, between feeling and saying, insisting on being heard even if not understood. If she is incoherent, it is defiantly so."---The Carolina Quarterly

"This novel is full of splintered, brilliant prose. Family, abuse, religion, illness, identity, and personal freedom--it's all here."--Word Bookstores

"McBride's novel stretches the boundaries of language."--Green Apple on the Park Bookstore

"Eimear McBride's debut novel has a reputation that precedes it here in America. Winner of multiple awards, the us release should only confirm what we've suspected over here all along." --Jason Diamond, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"Once you get comfortable with McBride's style, you'll be deep in this Irish tragedy--but too entrenched to seek escape."--City Pages, "Artists of the Year"

"An amazing book, unlike anything I've read before, and it announces McBride as a master at realizing perspective."--AV Club

"Perhaps no debut has been more thrilling than Eimear McBride's [A] Girl is a Half-formed Thing."--SF Weekly

"Amazing writing."--Library Journal

"A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, which won the 2014 Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction earlier this year, is raw and real and will break your heart time and time again before it's done with you."--Bustle

"I urge readers to step outside their literary boxes and experience this remarkable book."--Shelf Unbound

"Eimear McBride's searing debut balances a highly experimental style with intense bouts of emotion and moments of stunning simplicity."--BuzzFeed, "The 28 Best Books By Women in 2014"

"An existentialist (if not nihilistic) story, told in a captivating stream of consciousness, painting a portrait of one woman's strength and vulnerability."--BuzzFeed, "The 22 Most Exciting Literary Debuts of 2014"

"[A] bizarre, visceral thing that shifts and bends in your hands."--Flavorwire

"It's hard going at first, but once you let the language wash over you and form a rhythm, the book blossoms into a gorgeous, brutal stream of word and thought."--Flavorwire

"Eimear McBride's searing debut balances a highly experimental style with intense bouts of emotion and moments of stunning simplicity."--BuzzFeed

"Overall, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing is a touching, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking exploration into the relationship between siblings. It will leave the reader devastated, yet satisfied and is definitely worth the read."--Blottature

"McBride's novel--about an Irish girl's coming-of-age in the shadow of her brother's off-and-on battle with brain cancer-is written in pulsing, feverish prose, prose that is chopped and diced and scrambled, devastating and erotic."--The Riveter

"Perhaps any narrative filtered through stream of consciousness would qualify as being written in a language unique to itself, but in McBride's hands, this novel about a troubled woman's sexual awakening reaches an almost overwhelmingly singular register."--LitHub

"McBride tells a bracing story that is also a heartbreaking, painful thing to read. As the girl's father said on his way out the door, 'The heart cannot be wrung and wrung.' McBride and her Girl beg to differ."--The Charleston Post and Courier

"The writing is highly crafted on a micro-level. There is richness in its internal rhymes, its perfectly made-up words for those moments when language fails--'miracly, ' 'inthespring' . . . cycling between the throb of an open wound and a lilting ecstasy of music."--Brown Daily Herald

"Like nothing I've ever read."--Juneau Empire

"A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing truly is that rare emergence, though, a book that reads like it boiled up out of the earth . . . It simply burns."--Nuvo Magazine (Canada)

"McBride has created a world, that is not just accessible but positively drags you in, surrounds and infiltrates you. Her innovative approach to language is sometimes shocking, but it's the only way that we can genuinely experience the whole of the character."--Tales From a Bruce Eye View

"I'm left with great admiration for the author's skill."--Bluestocking Journal

"A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing is to modern fiction what bare-knuckle fist fights are to the Marquess-of-Queensbury-ruled boxing--this is the savage and fucking hard-hitting end of the genre . . . [A]bsolutely brilliant."--The Only Way is Reading

"At its most fundamental level this is a heartwrenching story of love, loss and an exceptionally strong sibling bond. The sadness of it was almost unbearable; it didn't remind me of grief, it felt like it. But in as far as grief can only spring from love, there is something beautiful about that, and about much of the writing."--PaperBlog

"A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing does something fresh and important with these themes, thanks in part to its canny adoption of modernist form."--Breac

"Put this one in the category of Most Memorable Books Ever."--Bustle

"McBride has produced something unparalleled in pace and tone to the works of other Irish writers."--The Vault

"Playful, rich, exciting--rarely have I read a book where I felt that the medium actually is the message."--The Star Online

"Eimear McBride's victory in the Bailey Prize with A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing is a heartening though rare instance of a difficult book being given a reward from mainstream publishing, not just from independent readers and reviewers."--Quadrapheme

"Best devoured in a short period of time, this novel is gorgeous, unforgettable, and difficult in all the best ways."--Heavy Feather

"Applause and credit is well earned, for the voice is like nothing you've ever heard before."--Kingston Creative Writers

"A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is a challenging, knotty read that demands your full attention, but it's hardly a chore to completely turn yourself over to it . . . the lyrical approach to narration that moves this prize-winning novel beyond simply a wonderful story to a breathtaking piece of art."--UCL Center for Publishing

"[McBride's A Girl is a Half-formed Thing] is testament not only to her literary skill but also to the inexhaustible possibilities of the novel form itself."--Books and Culture

"It was such relief to write a woman like that. Well worth the risk of constructing this rickety immersive style which, while owing much to modernism's 'stream-of-consciousness', might, more accurately, be termed 'stream-of-existence' instead." --The Gaurdian, "Eimear McBride: How I Wrote A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing"