The Lesser Bohemians
By Eimear McBride
Faber and Faber

Is Eimear McBride the hottest property in world literature right now? Her debut, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing , sold impressively, won bags of awards and was a critical smash: Man Booker champion Anne Enright called her a “genius”. That the book was almost unanimously rejected by mainstream publishing only enhances her achievement. The Lesser Bohemians is an advance and a refinement. Our heroine, an Irish girl, escapes her grim family, moves to London and falls for an older man. The star is McBride’s prose, which requires, demands and occasionally defeats attention. Dialogue presses its nose against exposition: “Up out of the world and back into his realm… Kiss. And make what I want, my own normal with him.” The passage turns erotic and unsettling as sex writhes with neo-religious thoughts of her father: “I choose your father over the dead … Good to be hurt by him in ways you never will.” There is liberation, too. McBride frequently feels like a modernist poet in her use of space, line endings and language. Rarely has the word “and” been put to more evocative use: “he is really don’t really….I/really me…./him and/my whole body breathes”. Utterly, bracingly brilliant.