Monthly Archive for December, 2014

New Beginnings


Suddenly, cold wintry weather is upon us and as Christmas approaches, we’ve been reading Eimear McBride’s debut novel ‘A girl is a half-formed thing’. A brave choice and the consensus of the group was that this book is definitely not an easy read. McBride has created an incredibly distressing and uncompromising first person narrative to describe one girl’s experience of an abusive childhood using a style of writing that doesn’t conform to prescribed forms of expression, pushing language to the very limits to arrive at her intended destination.

A number of us agreed that it was an astonishing feat of writing with an aggressive style that seems directed towards the reader, which we admired once we’d got over the challenging narrative style and the depressing content. The language and style McBride uses works for the story and we were living every second of it with her. ‘A girl is a half-formed thing’ has been described as ‘a novel soaked in guilt’ which we felt absolutely captures the essence of the book.

After this discussion we were drooping a bit and needed some Christmas cheer which we had a-plenty at our meal in Durham. Many thanks to Alison for arranging this and for paying a hefty deposit!

Some classic novel choices old and modern for future reading:

My Antonia – Willa Cather

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

The Group – Mary McCarthy

Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

Adam Bede – George Eliot

The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde

The Bottle Factory Outing – Beryl Bainbridge

The Magic Toyshop – Angela Carter

The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

Great news. It looks as if we may have a new book group leader in the New Year. More news on this to follow.

Have a wonderful festive season everyone and see you all on 12 January 2015 to discuss Anthony Doerr’s ‘All the light we cannot see.’