The Lesser Bohemians: A Book Review

I started to read this book after a glass of wine.

I had to put it down—the wine and the book. The Lesser Bohemians is best read totally sober with deliberation.

Here’s what I mean:

Morning freeze. Market. Downed I at dawn. One foot in rubbish. One in Camden. Suckering up unctuous noodles now for lunch and no longer listening out for birds. It turns lonely though, shouldering in through the hordes. All the speculative friendships I, jealous, observe. It’s just space but I have so much distance to make and this seems such a wilful world. (13)

This passage sums up the expectations and hesitancy of youth and the stream-of-consciousness sporadic style of the author, Eimear McBride.

As my reading progressed, I don’t know if the narrator’s voice becomes clearer or if I became used to her staccato thoughts. As her erotic first love affair ebbs and flows, the main character explores this new relationship, drugs, alcohol, lots more sex, as well as trying to hang on in first-year drama school. McBride’s style merely emphasizes her little-girl-lost persona.

When her mostly famous actor lover starts to share his tale, the prose becomes more realistic, even as the story of his dark, dysfunctional youth morphs into an addictive adult lifestyle. After his long treatise, Eily realizes she has grown up in this night.

The Lesser Bohemians reminds me a bit of Brother of the More Famous Jack with a sprinkling of Catcher in the Rye (and of course James Joyce). It is a long prose poem of longing, yearning, wishing, and accepting one’s choices.

McBride is a master of the language. I will leave you with two of my favorite quotes from the book.

“Life makes itself with little heed for the appropriate”(136).

“Just dandelion leaves trod all down his path with this going away and the coming back. Some great ending it feels like. For now though, just go through his broke door”(301).


I received a complimentary copy of this book  from Blogging for Books for this review.  All opinions, exclamations, gushing and rants are my own.



For my other Blogging for Books reviews, click here.


Note:  I usually pair some sort of recipe inspiration with my book reviews; however, this book is such a classic in the making, I just didn’t want to deter from this work of literature.  I did almost whip up some “unctuous noodles.”

7 comments to The Lesser Bohemians: A Book Review

  • Well thanks for slogging through that one for me. It’s not my style, but great review!

    • It wasn’t too much of a slog fest after I put the wine down and got through the first few sections. I did enjoy it and I think McBride is a master of the language.

  • Mae

    You haven’t inspired me to read this book. Maybe to re-read James Joyce.

    best… mae at

  • She writes a lot like I think so it would be like banging my head against the wall to read the whole book! I’m glad you enjoyed it and it sounds like my daughter may as well………..just too heady for me! 🙂

  • kitchenriffs

    That’s become a fairly popular style. Or at least I’ve seen it a lot in books — maybe just a reflection of what I read (although I don’t read much contemporary fiction, so my sampling is pretty small, and thus rather suspect). Sounds interesting, though. Thanks for the review!

  • mjskit

    Thanks for the review. Interesting writing style…Almost like poetry. I’ve seen this book listed in a few recommended book lists, but I might have to pass.