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The Lesser Bohemians: A Novel by Eimear…

The Lesser Bohemians: A Novel

by Eimear McBride

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3169653,072 (3.17)54



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Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
A bizarre, brilliant, touching, taut, raunchy romcom. Experimental and conventional, challenging and simple, heartwarming and heartbreaking - I loved this book and I will press it into as many hands as I can. As good as her debut was I'm amazed this hasn't had more buzz, as it puts so many other similar efforts in the shade. ( )
  alexrichman | Jan 27, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
an entertaining enough novel that reads like a Joyce devotee writing Miller fan fiction. if you've ever been 20 and think yourself blessed that a troubled older man has chosen you, you've already lived this. ( )
  kalizely | Jan 7, 2019 |
One phrase kept coming to mind as I read this book: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” This quote is from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and captures the essence of McBride’s The Lesser Bohemians. At the surface, this is a story of a young drama student having a relationship with an older, established actor. It’s almost a cliché - the teenage girl infatuated with an older man who takes advantage of her naiveté.

The difference here is that McBride’s tale forces the reader to be accepting and sympathetic of others’ experience, almost without judgement. It’s raw and disturbing, but that’s what makes it work.

Doubtless many readers will be aware that the writing style is not traditional. McBride writes in snippets, in phrases, short fragments of sentences. It’s not exactly stream-of-consciousness, but this style allows for introspection and first person point-of-view more honestly than the usual straightforward structure. It’s poetic and innovative, and not linear or direct. This writing creates succinct paragraphs without wordy descriptions. Dialogue is not bordered with quotation marks, but is directly inserted into the text. It may be off-putting or confusing at first, but it really doesn’t take long to adjust to this narrative voice. If you’re able to read Shakespearean English, or dialect, or an invented language, such as seen in The Country of Ice Cream Star or Cloud Atlas, then The Lesser Bohemians, though challenging, won’t be too difficult to tackle. Just let your mind go, be free of the burden of expectations, and absorb the words as they appear on the page. You’ll be just fine.

The subject matter may appear harmless - a May/December relationship - but it’s far from innocent. There are uncomfortable, sometimes taboo, subjects in this book. Incest, psychological abuse, drug use, child abuse . . . it’s all in there. It’s reminiscent of A Little Life, but this book is more believable and much better written. The characters are despicable, but they’re real.

I was bothered by the acceptance of psychological abuse as it was treated in this book. The young girl, Eily, allows herself to be cruelly manipulated by her older lover, mostly because she just doesn’t know any better. There is so much drama and on/off in their relationship, such desperation, dependency, and “he loves me and he’ll come back,” that it practically made me nauseous. The reasons for his behavior are made clear, but does that make his abuse and infidelity acceptable? I pity any young girl who reads this book and thinks this type of relationship is okay, or worse, that it’s normal and the best they can expect to have. Sex is used for approval, sex is used for revenge, sex is used for power. Even though there is some catharsis and growth, there remains a horrifying lack of self-esteem in both characters. This relationship is too damaged to be healthy, and McBride’s novel doesn’t address that danger. As an adult, I recognize that fact; as an 18-year-old, I may not have.

I recommend The Lesser Bohemians for those readers who want to experience a different narrative style and can handle difficult issues. I would only recommend it for adults. I prevaricated between giving a 3 or 4 star review. So, 3 stars for the story and 4 stars for the raw, powerful writing. McBride's first novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, wowed me with her bold use of language. I admire McBride’s writing, and give her kudos for creating a daring story.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. ( )
  ErickaS | May 2, 2018 |
I found that I was unable to get through this novel. I barely got to glimpse the story itself, and the reason was solely because of the language style that the author chose. It was awkward and threw me off right from the start. I wasn't able to follow along and I had to struggle a great deal just to understand what the author was trying to say. No matter how hard I tried to push past it, I simply could not get over it and so, I wasn't able to get to the heart of the story. For that reason, I'm going to have to give this novel a pass. ( )
  veeshee | Feb 19, 2018 |
If I had to shelve this at a bookstore, I'd put it in Romance, though it is not the formulaic crap one expects from that genre. This novel has as much explicit sex as the steamiest of romance novels, but since it is written in a sort of poetry-esque stream-of-consciousness style from the heroine's perspective, it is far more intimate than typical romances. In this story, an 18yr-old Irish girl moves to London to be a student in a drama school. She is very naive, especially where men and relationships are concerned, but she is also determined to fast-track herself into adult sophistication. She finds herself an older man to hook up with at a bar, and begins her first, and possibly only significant romantic relationship. The older man is a somewhat famous actor, with LOTS of baggage, the sort of guy who would appeal to young women who like to fix people and feel needed.
I did not like the poetry-prose writing style very much, and I didn't really see why the heroine would want to stick with her actor boyfriend, but then again I am cynical and jaded when it comes to romance. Despite the odd style, this was actually a fairly readable, and almost enjoyable book for me. Maybe not a 4-star book, but closer to 4 than 3. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
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For my father
John McBride
First words
I move. Cars move. Stock, it bends light. City opening itself behind. Here's to be for its life is the bite and would be start of mine.
I will remember this because, even though this morning's not much of his life, it's very much of mine.
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A young Irish drama student in 1990s London makes new friends, establishes a place for herself, and seeks to shed her plain-girl identity before entering a whirlwind affair with an older man who changes her in unexpected ways.

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