Thursday, October 26, 2017

Review: The Lesser Bohemians

The Lesser Bohemians The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A chance meeting in a pub leads to a story over the course of a year that fundamentally changes two people's lives and the lives of those around them. In The Less Bohemians, a young theater student arrives in London ready to explore an independent life. She happens to meet an actor who is older than her, and they seem to have an attraction that doesn't fade. Throughout the year, their relationship is explored and so are their pasts.

Although this is categorized as literary fiction, at the core of it this is simply a romance novel that explores the relationship between two people who appear broken, and for most of the book seem to be wrong for each other. What makes it suddenly turn into a literary novel is only the narrative voice used by the author. From the very first page, it is stilted, choppy and in some cases completely unintelligible (in addition, the entire novel never uses quotation marks for direct quotes, which annoys me to no end). The reason the author is probably doing this is to show the uncertainty and eventual growth of the narrator, however, having the first 100 or so pages written in this way will turn a lot of people off from finishing the book, even though the story underneath is simple and somewhat interesting.

The other issue with this novel is that the narrator is just not interesting. She's a kid sleeping with an older guy—although she learns a lot about herself through the relationship, she just ends up looking starry-eyed and smitten at the end, much like a eighteen-year-old would in that situation. What was actually interesting in the book was Stephen's story (which, by the way, you don't even find out his or Eily's name until two-thirds of the way in the book), his background, the abuse in his childhood, all of his secrets and how he became the man that Eily met. Eily's hinting of her own dark past doesn't really come out and doesn't pull you in like Stephen's story. While parts of the book are interesting, the writing style and the lack of something that makes Eily unique to tell her story may keep a lot of readers away.

*Book provided by Blogging for Books

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