When I first opened Eimear McBride’s The Lesser Bohemians, I felt a little overwhelmed. If you were to judge this book by its floral cover and warm blurb, you might expect something quite different to what you’ll actually discover inside – which is, I suppose, true of many books.
Beyond the pink jacket, the pages are filled with Eimear’s incredible and unique prose. Her way of stringing together words is akin to Zadie Smith, whose way with language stretches beyond the norms of punctuation and sub-editing conventions. And yet, somehow, with a distinct absence of these conventions that usually prove useful to a reader, I somehow found myself completely absorbed in the characters’ lives that play out in this story.
Our viewpoint character, Eily, is a young Irish woman who moves to London to study acting – here, she meets a much older actor who changes the way she sees the world, views sex, and inhabits her new city. Darker tales of abuse and regret unfold as we get to know the two leads.
By my own summary, this may seem a simple set-up. But there’s such depth and poetry to this book that I dare not spoil its magic with a simple description. Read it yourselves, lazy bones.
[Faber and Faber, 2016]