Leaving home for a new place is a defining event in your life – even more so when a romantic entanglement becomes a part of it, too, such as in Eimear McBride’s The Lesser Bohemians.
An 18 year old girl leaves her home in Ireland for drama school in London, where many new experiences await her. Unsure in herself and others, yet keenly observant, she forges friendships with classmates and readily goes along with what people around her are doing, even if it can be self-destructive. Enter onto the stage an established actor 20 years her senior who captures her attention and she his. As the two establish their relationship, they go through many trials, often self-imposed, that test their attraction and commitment to one another throughout the year.
The narrative started out incredibly difficult to read with the particular format of stream-of-consciousness presented, but it does get moderately easier as you progress through the first twenty pages or so and then gradually gains a more identifiable sentence structure in the second half of the novel (and structure in general). This wound up being basically a book about sex with virtually no emotional growth or exploration, which is fine, but characters that keep making the same dumb decisions aren’t my favorite and that seems to be primarily what happens here. The second half of the narrative feels almost like a different book, partially because it’s more readable, and partially because there’s rationale behind the characters to help demonstrate minimal growth, which was also annoyingly delayed – although I can see arguments that as both Eily and Stephen gain a better understanding of themselves and each other that there’s a certain “clarity” to their lives that they’re then able to portray to the reader.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.
*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.