A breathtaking award-winning novel about an extraordinary, all-consuming love affair
One night an eighteen-year-old Irish girl, recently arrived in London to attend drama school, meets an older man—a well-regarded actor in his own right. While she is naive and thrilled by life in the big city, he is haunted by more than a few demons, and the clamorous relationship that ensues risks undoing them both.
A captivating story of passion and innocence, joy and discovery set against the vibrant atmosphere of 1990s London over the course of a single year, The Lesser Bohemians glows with the eddies and anxieties of growing up, and the transformative intensity of a powerful new love.
Winner of the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction
Shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award
Shortlisted for the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize
Shortlisted for the 2016 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Eason Novel of the Year
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Eimear McBride was born in 1976 and grew up in Ireland. She currently lives in Norwich with her family. The Lesser Bohemians is her second novel.
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Excerpted from "The Lesser Bohemians"
Copyright © 2017 Eimear McBride.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Lesser Bohemians is the second novel by Irish-born author, Eimear McBride. In the mid-1990s, a young Irish woman goes to London to study acting at Drama College. She’s just eighteen, rather naïve, and still a virgin. A few weeks into her first term, she encounters an actor in a bar. An older man, thirty-eight, and apparently quite well-regarded for his roles. What is supposed to be a one-night-stand to get rid of her inconvenient virginity begins to morph into some sort of relationship, although nothing runs smoothly. McBride easily conveys the feel of the theatre scene and mid-nineties London: flats, bedsits and squats; parties, drinking to excess, late nights and libidinous behaviour. Her tale understandably includes quite a lot of sex, with various and multiple partners, and many of the descriptions are quite explicit, as are those of the abuse (sexual, physical and psychological) of children and adolescents. Self-harm and anorexia also feature. Initially, the writing style means the reader has to put in quite some effort. It reads like a stream of consciousness narrative, like diary shorthand, often just fragments of sentences. The absence of quote marks for speech makes it challenging to read. For the bulk of the novel, main characters are referred to as “he” and “she”, or the Landlady, the Flatmate or his Russian Missus, or her boyfriend, so the reader really has to pay attention to context. About halfway, when the lover tells his tale, the narrative becomes more conventional. It is a testament to the author’s talent that the absence of quote marks becomes less noticeable as the book progresses; perhaps by this stage the reader has also picked up the author’s rhythm, so something like “Shame fuses into silence letting the night maraud, killing bit by useless hope of not being the girl I was. Am. She is” is less confusing than it might be. McBride constructs her novel so that it is almost as if the young woman’s coming of age tale is the framework for the telling of the story of her lover’s life. The unique style of this novel may not be for everyone, but readers who persevere with it are rewarded with a story that is raw, gritty, intimate and filled with characters to despise, but also characters to hope for and rejoice in. An engrossing read.
I found it extremely difficult to continue forward with this book, which is very rare for me because in most cases I will read anything and everything. The story itself seems very unnatural; for the first half of the book I was contemplating putting it aside and picking up a different book, but as the story progressed, it impressed me with the little ounce of energy it had left. As a reader, you should be able to dive into the story and become lost in the words, but I was not able to do so. After extracting the main points, the plot became difficult to grasp, the writing structure was all over the place, almost like a journal. Overall, this book was not my favorite of the year, or the month, but I’m not completely disappointed with it, McBride could have allowed for a more interesting experience for the reader, but being her debut novel, I’ll give her credit. There will be many people who enjoy McBride’s style, but speaking for myself, I did not find this book enjoyable.