An astonishing debut.(Guardian)

 

 

IMG_20160119_0001Here is a writer who is compared with Samuel Becket and is lauded by many. Descriptions by critics are peppered by; Astonishing, haunting, unforgettable powerful, inventiveness, moving as music.

The title is ‘A Girl is a half formed thing’

Let me give you a random sample of her writing from page 49.

“And was there much blood? Yeah loads of that. And hospital and people passing out? Oh loads, and did they think you’d die? they did. Somehow I didn’t, you say. They never knew anyone nearly dead before grannies and grandfathers. Did they go to court? They got away. With It? From the country, thickorwhat, you say. Oh right. Oh right yeah.

I smelt it go around the school all day. In crannies in whispers in home economics behind me, before me, to right and to the left. Hey dimwit shitfit what happened your brother? What happened his head? Is that true? You so full of shite. It did not. It did not. Sweat me down my polyester pinafore. Don’t want to get into it. Don’t want to say Aye Yes nor no if I can help it. But I don’t want to burst your lie.

Bus home you were not tripped up. And no one said thicko duck-up shitehawk. And you did sit at the back of the bus. I went over and over each bump in my stomach. The luck of it. Bad luck of it to tell that lie. Of all. About that. That thick meander line below your hair.”

 

I don’t know what to make of it. I’ll will read the book. Her brain seems to be embedded in her key-board.  The author is  Eimear McBride.

 

Here is a bit by G.Oosterman out of “Almost There.”

“Even so we needed friends and invited them for an afternoon. He ate all of our peanuts. He must have been so hungry. His hand kept throwing those nuts back into his tilted upward mouth. It is strange how those memories keep sticking. I mean we did not mind the peanut frenzy, but were just somewhat surprised. Heaven knows what others make of us? “Gerard is really weird and strange,” they could well whisper behind closed doors!

Another couple we tried to befriend was a printmaker. I knocked on his door. He just poked his red face through a window and asked what I wanted. I explained we were from Australia seeking friendship. “I am an artists too,” I said bravely while nodding affirmatively and somewhat conspiratorially. “Oh, he said without hesitation, I am having a fight with my wife”, “I can’t see you.” He slammed the window shut. Marital fights in Holland are just as prevalent as anywhere. Just because they ride bikes, eat herrings and live abstemious lives, doesn’t mean they don’t suffer marital whiplash at times. It is universal.

We did keep a few couples as friends including the potter couple of stone-ware. He worked as a part time teacher and informed me the school for adult education was looking for a teacher in the creative arts especially painting and drawing. I got the job. This was the other good news I was alluding to at the beginning of this piece. But that wasn’t the end of happy and happier! I won a commission to make a mural for a yet to be built school in the small town where my daughters attended school. This town is named Westerbork.

 

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28 Responses to “An astonishing debut.(Guardian)”

  1. roughseasinthemed Says:

    I’m not sure about McBride either, but maybe my Becket days are behind me, and memoirs are more interesting for older people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    Helvi gave it a go but gave up. I will try the book tonight after 10pm. If I fall asleep it doesn’t look good, however, on waking I will make a cup-o-tea (English breakfast,) and try it again.

    She is lauded by many critics from New York to London and back again.

    ‘A startling first novel,’ someone described it.

    ‘A new language,’ someone else enthused.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yvonne Says:

    Hmmm, let us know how you fare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I tried my best, Yvonne. I did fall asleep but on waking, put on my coat, went downstairs and boiled some milk added a spoonful of honey.
      I took the book again and at 3am read another 12 pages. I found it difficult. I am lacking the Irish gene. I am sure many love McBride’s book, but sadly, neither Helvi and this reader understand the tortuous way of writing.
      The book will go back to Vinnies where it came from originally.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    I don’t trust book critics anymore, because they made me buy “50 shades of grey” what is a pile of rubbish. Bad writing, bad characters, and an erotic story, that isn’t good enough to be erotic to begin with.

    I bought “Eat, pray, Love” because that too was highly praised and I was disappointed, because if one travels to Italy only to eat and to India only to pray…then there must be something seriously wrong.

    So no matter how high, or how low the ratings are…I make my own bestseller list🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Helvi heartily agrees with your summation of both books and added somewhat flippantly ; American rubbish! A bit unfair, I thought. I haven’t read those two books.
      McBride’s book is perhaps a lot deeper that ’50 greys and eat and pray’ but it is so difficult to read.
      We are a bit suspicious of book critics falling over themselves wanting to be seen as having great nous in spotting literary genius.
      Could the genius be the nude king in Copenhagen who has no clothes?.

      Liked by 2 people

      • nonsmokingladybug Says:

        Tell Helvi I am all with her, one book is indeed American rubbish, the other one “Eat, Pray, Love” got just too much endorsement from so called celebrities. I just bought a book at a bargain bin for $2 because it had an interesting title. I started reading it and LOVED it so much, that I researched the author and bought two other books he wrote.

        You never know, these days the emperor without clothes seems to fool a lot of people.

        BTW The author I am talking about is Luis Alberto Urrea and the bargain book is “The Hummingbird’s daughter,” I have a feeling Helvi might like it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Helvi asked me to write down the Author’s name and the book title “The Hummingbird’s daughter”.
        She buys lots of books from Vinnies and our bed is now in danger of a bookslide.
        “Couple found dead underneath books in own bed” could well be a headline in the Sydney Morning Herald.” with an arrow pointing to a photo of our Town House and people putting flowers against our letter-box..

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Carrie Rubin Says:

    I enjoyed reading both excerpts, but yours was easier to understand.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. auntyuta Says:

    I liked what you quoted out of “Almost There”.
    Even though I read it before in one of your blogs, I very much enjoyed reading it a second time. It really kept my interest!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Uta. You are very kind.

      Like

      • auntyuta Says:

        You are very welcome, Gerard.
        We had a quick stop at the Robertson Pie Shop on the way home today. We ended up driving down MacQuarie Pass in dense fog and rain. Yet Peter managed all right, and we got home in one piece!🙂 All in all we have had a lovely day. We think the book barn is really worth a visit. And it was so nice to meet you and Helvi again. Both of you have a very good weekend!

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        We had a very nice day as well. An amazing bookshop Berkelouw at Berrima is. The wine tasting at the new winery was fantastic. Glad you made it safe back home.

        Like

  7. rodhart (@roderick_hart) Says:

    ‘Astonishing’ is a word like ‘interesting’. It could be astonishingly good or astonishingly bad. I liked yours better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The critics are so full of praise for this book of McBride that one feels somewhat deflated when actually reading the book. ‘What’s wrong with me that I don’t get this, stunningly obvious message, of what she wrote?’
      Yes, even I prefer to read my own words. Thank you Rod.

      Like

  8. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Thank you for the warning on the first book,. I will read the second book.

    Like

  9. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    I’ve not tackled Eimer yet, but I am willing to believe that she is an Impressionist in the Paris of Ingres and Courbet. I may never take to her style of writing, but we’ll see. Your piece is funny and accessible, so I look forward to the finished book.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am so over re-reading Almost There. I have to then go over it all again. Hopefully without the feelings of what a jumble of words I wrote. It is so egotistically immodest. I must distance myself. Still, it will be self- published this year.
      I am so lifted by your encouraging words. Thank you, Hilary. I am reading your book on my computer’s kindle and it is drawing me in.

      Like

  10. shoreacres Says:

    Whether a girl is a half-formed thing is a proposition we could debate, but there’s no question that the author of that one is at best a half-formed writer, and that’s being extraordinarily generous. There’s nothing literary critics love more than perpetrating frauds on the great unwashed.

    I’ll wait for your book. I’ve better things to do than deal with that (ahem) “pile of shite.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that’s what I thought too, Linda. It is a worry though, that so many critics and literary experts fall over themselves praising something that many find very difficult. Woody Allen would perhaps say; ‘it got so much of that other nothingness.’

      Like

  11. chris hunter Says:

    I guess after Kerouac and Hunter S et al anything goes. I found the flow of language rather disjointed and am unlikely to pursue the book.

    Critics love to rave, but then the world is in denial.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I tried hard too. It must be very esoteric.

      Like

      • chris hunter Says:

        I’m not sure but think it stems from boredom, the ‘esoteric’ thing – as little as a good dust cover might be enough to knock old Tolstoy off his stile.

        We need truly aged sarcasm,.the real deal, steely irony, perhaps whips at a pinch. you gonna give to use aren’t you Gerard – none of this quirky art grant stuff?

        Like

      • chris hunter Says:

        gonna give it to us. oops. anyway, we are all looking forward to your publication…. you certainly have a way with words, but then you have the experiences to make them meaningful.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Thank you, Chris. It’s a work in progress. Lucky that H knows so much more about grammar and language than I do.

        Like

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