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A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing

Narrated by: Eimear McBride
Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
4 out of 5 stars (149 ratings)
Regular price: £14.99
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Summary

Winner of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2014

Winner of The Desmond Elliot Prize 2014

Winner of the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize 2013

Winner of the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction 2014

Shortlisted for the inaugural Folio Prize 2014

A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing is an unforgettable novel from a major new literary talent. Eimear McBride's award-winning debut novel tells the story of a young woman's relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. It is a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings, and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist.

The author's spellbinding reading illuminates every nuance of the text with feeling and sympathy. The listener enters the narrator's head, experiencing her world at first hand. This isn't always comfortable - but it is always a revelation.

©2013 Eimear McBride (P)2014 Faber Audio

Critic reviews

"You only need to read the first paragraph of McBride's debut novel to know you are reading something special. She builds up images impressionistically over paragraphs and pages, and her writing has such glorious cadence that it should be read aloud." ( The Times)
"A virtuosic debut: subversive, passionate, and darkly alchemical. Read it and be changed." (Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries)
"Eimear McBride is that old-fashioned thing, a genius... The adventurous reader will find that they have a real book on their hands, a live one, a book that is not like any other... [it] is an instant classic." (Anne Enright, Guardian)
"A writer of remarkable power and originality." (David Collard, Times Literary Supplement)
"A brutal and brilliant debut... This book will arouse powerful emotions in anyone who accords it the respect of reading with attention." (John P. O'Sullivan, Sunday Times Ireland)
"A remarkable achievement." (John Boland, Irish Independent)
"There's an immediacy, an emotional directness as the narrator rails against a frustrating, unfeeling world. Brave, bold, brilliant." ( Daily Mail)
"Ten pages in and all the bells start ringing. It explodes into your chest." (Caitlin Moran)
"Soul-wrenchingly sad." ( Financial Times)
"McBride weaves something dazzling... She set out to pick up the experimental modernist baton from James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, and she has done just that." ( Observer)
"It truly is one of the most extraordinary things I've read in the last year." ( Harper’s Bazaar)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

authentic work.

trust me it's worth the listen. my advice is to set a side some time to listen as it's Irish author and performance are brilliant. it takes a moment to get into the sway. but there is the deep and loving sad story of this young girl.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Gibble Gobble Gibble Gobble

This is such a brave brave book. Really it is. But it was hard listening in every way. The author's reading is at once lilting and lyrical, you are there with her, but the narrative boings about all over the place, a stream of consciousness and lost words. You me I they she are jumbled together and I found myself wanting at times to see the text, to know how it looked on the page.

Either way, I thought it good and terrifying and strong. Such a fascinating presentation of a mind's eye. Highly recommended, and tough, though you will likely find yourself dipping in and out, drifting with McBride's beautiful mad voice in your head.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Challenging but beautifully written and narrated

Definitely not a book to listen to if you're feeling low. The story is so sad but the writing is painfully beautiful. It took a little while to get into the style of the narrative but then it just flowed. It is almost like a poem and it was recited rather than narrated, which really brought it to life.
It's a book I'm glad I listened to but now I need to listen to something a bit lighter.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unique and haunting narrative

It took me as many as four chapters to swallow the hook but I'm glad I persisted. Once you get used to the unique stream of narrative there is a raw and gleaming talent to be found. The subjects aren't always comfortable to be fully absorbed in, a brother's cancer, rape, violence.. but the experience is powerful and moving none-the-less.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Ingenious writing- disturbing yet fascinating

Despite it being deeply uncomfortable, I was captivated by this book. Incredible audio performance from the author herself - I recommend the audiobook to fully appreciate the style of this book. Not for the faint of heart, due to its merciless honesty, but do give this a read if you appreciate great writing

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Extraordinary reading - not for the faint-hearted

Where does A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In terms of the reading, this is one of the best I've heard.

Would you be willing to try another book from Eimear McBride? Why or why not?

On the basis of the excellence of the reading, I'd try another. However, the content of this one requires a strong stomach and some persistence. This is not light-weight material.

What does Eimear McBride bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

An amazingly fluent and rhythmic reading that gains momentum and emotion as it nears the end.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It should be listened to in one reading, but it is a grim story which is horrifying as much as it is beautiful and moving.

Any additional comments?

I didn't think I would like this, but it is difficult not to acknowledge how difficult this book must have been to write. While I did not like the story, I cannot help but admire the skill with which it is written as well as the way it is delivered in this very unique reading by the author herself.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ms
  • 05-06-15

A hard listen

This is an interesting book, a sort of post Joycean stream of conscious. The breathless, staccato delivery turn it into almost a performance piece of poetry. However, the relentless first person takes you rather too close for comfort into the mind of a troubled and self destructive young woman, whose refuge in random sexual partners is taken advantage of, even by the man who claims to love her. This is not a pleasant experience, but its worth listening to.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Not an easy listen, but a powerful story

Strap yourself in because this is a story that fights you back. From its stream-of-consciousness narrative devoid of punctuation and structure, to an utterly harrowing story, Eimear McBride's novel challenges you on every level. When you first start, it takes a while to make sense of what you are listening to, but McBride's narration (and I don't think anyone else but the author could have done it) takes you through a gripping story of sexual violence, loss, emotional abuse, rape - all the usual cheery stuff.
This is not an easy read in any sense of the word, but it is compelling and it seeps into you as you are sucked further and further into the painfully dark life of the nameless narrator.
It thoroughly deserves the awards that were heaped upon it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Powerful, fabulous read by the author

I think I may have battled to read this book as the prose is so unusual but I was drawn in by the author reading it. An unusual, intimate style, she writes the way we think, in short bursts. It is quite a story, raw and painful. I now can't get enough and am about to download her next book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Stick with it

At first I thought it was rubbish, some messed up poetry or something, then I realised what was going on, I very quickly got in to the rather unusual stream of consciousness dialogue and it just kind of washes through you. A really very touching story that says a lot about so many things a child may experience and how your life can shaped by them without you realising the effect the events have on you at the time or in retrospect. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting something fresh, enthralling and deep. I almost hope the author doesn't try and follow this book up with something similar as I think it wouldn't have the same magic. Definitely given that extra something by being read by the author, I think that makes it much better as an audio book than it could be as a traditional book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful