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From the Inside out

Jacqueline Rose: Eimear McBride, 22 September 2016

The Lesser Bohemians 
by Eimear McBride.
Faber, 313 pp., £16.99, September 2016, 978 0 571 32785 0
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... simply, it brings to an end the illusion that either language or the world can be made safe. When Eimear McBride burst onto the literary scene in 2013 with her first published novel, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, she proudly trailed James Joyce in her wake, claiming her allegiance to a European modernism which some have argued, wrongly I would say, has ...

All your walkmans fizz in tune

Adam Mars-Jones: Eimear McBride, 8 August 2013

A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing 
by Eimear McBride.
Galley Beggar, 203 pp., £11, June 2013, 978 0 9571853 2 6
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... on a starvation diet in terms of the comma (including the inverted ones that designate speech), as Eimear McBride does in her remarkable, harshly satisfying first novel, may not seem a particularly drastic discipline, set beside such feats as eliminating the letter ‘e’ (Perec’s La Disparition, Englished by Gilbert Adair as A Void) or telling ...

Prowled and Yowled

Blake Morrison: Kay Dick, 12 May 2022

by Kay Dick.
Faber, 107 pp., £8.99, February, 978 0 571 37086 3
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... across it by chance in a charity shop. The new edition arrives with tributes from Margaret Atwood, Eimear McBride and Claire-Louise Bennett, among others, who emphasise Dick’s status as a ‘trailblazing queer English writer’. Have other novelists been influenced by her? I prefer to think of They as inimitable: innovative in structure but ...

Hmmmm, Stylish

Brian Dillon: Claire-Louise Bennett, 20 October 2016

by Claire-Louise Bennett.
Fitzcarraldo, 177 pp., £10.99, October 2015, 978 1 910695 09 8
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... risks that mark some of the more extreme stories. She has somewhat misleadingly been set alongside Eimear McBride as representative of a modernist turn among young writers in Ireland, especially women writers. Misleadingly, not because they don’t share something – a commitment to voice, a syntax that is speedy, bristling and strange at first encounter ...

Her Body or the Sea

Ian Patterson: Ann Quin, 21 June 2018

The Unmapped Country: Stories and Fragments 
by Ann Quin.
And Other Stories, 192 pp., £10, January 2018, 978 1 911508 14 4
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... fiction’. A new crop of writers such as Claire-Louise Bennett, Kevin Davey, Will Eaves, Eimear McBride and Eley Williams, all published by independent presses, started to attract attention, and there was a flurry of excitement about writing that departed in some way from the conventions of realism which still dominate the English ...

Motherly Protuberances

Blake Morrison: Simon Okotie, 9 September 2021

After Absalon 
by Simon Okotie.
Salt, 159 pp., £9.99, January 2020, 978 1 78463 166 6
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... has a delusion of directing operations beyond his control. The style has been called digressive (Eimear McBride: ‘I’ve never seen anyone use digression so cleverly before’), and it’s certainly Shandyesque. ‘It was with these thoughts that he came to the end of the chapter, wondering what, if anything, might occur between this ending and the ...

Cramming for Success

James Wood: Hardy in London, 15 June 2017

Thomas Hardy: Half A Londoner 
by Mark Ford.
Harvard, 305 pp., £20, October 2016, 978 0 674 73789 1
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... essential life-force – still informs much contemporary work. Think of fiction by Anne Enright, Eimear McBride, Alan Hollinghurst; but also, in an important postcolonial modification, Naipaul, Amit Chaudhuri, Zia Haider Rahman. We were Hardy’s heirs, without quite knowing it; Mark Ford has located the ...

A Little Village on the Edge of the World

Adam Mars-Jones: Mike McCormack, 30 November 2017

Solar Bones 
by Mike McCormack.
Canongate, 272 pp., £8.99, May 2017, 978 1 78689 127 3
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... by making his book a single undivided utterance. A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, the novel by Eimear McBride that won the inaugural prize in 2013, was prodigal in its use of full stops: there were often three or four in a line of print. By banishing the mark altogether McCormack brings its frequency in the two books – taken together – close to a ...

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