Book Review: A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride

Madamsabi's Blog

The austere, disjointed beauty of this intense account of broken family life is perfectly suited to the raw drama of a Clydeside coast


Bute, an hour and a half from Glasgow by car and boat, may not be blessed with palm-fringed beaches but is the perfect setting for this dark tale about the ties of family.

McBride’s novel is a heartbreaking stream of consciousness not suited to a tropical climate. The Guardian review from 2013 starts with the warning that the book is not a “beach read”, but there is a place for its grey overtones and insular protagonist among Bute’s craggy rockpools and cross-looking clouds.

This is a book whose nameless central character exists in a claustrophobic world of religion tainted with superstition, with only her ailing older brother for support. Her desperate bids for independence and sexual liberation are curtailed by shame, a toxic mother and her brother’s…

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