This month I am insecure about something I read, rather than something I wrote.
The book in question - A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, by Eimear McBride - has mixed reviews on Goodreads, but has won several literary awards. It is experimental, in style; although I've never really understood what that term means in terms of fiction, because I've never really found anything I would consider truly experimental - they usually have words and sentences, a plot, some characters... So far, so normal.
However, just the first page or two, had me wondering whether I'd actually forgotten how to read! The sentences are half-formed, let alone the girl. I read every paragraph a couple of times, getting the drift of what the author was saying but not really understanding it. For example:
"I know. The thing wrong. It’s a. It is called. Nosebleeds, head aches . Where you can’t hold. Fall mugs and dinner plates she says clear up."
McBride, Eimear (2014-04-07). A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing (p. 1). Faber & Faber. Kindle Edition.
I have never before read something that made me feel stupid. And I don't think I want to ever again. I actually gave up on the book on the second page - something that I try never to do.
So, does this make it experimental? Hmm, not sure. I don't think this novel has helped me decide what experimental fiction really is. I can understand that stream-of-consciousness can be seen as such, but I think it should be more than that. And surely since fiction has existed for thousands of years, there's no new way of telling a story that someone hasn't done at some point.
(Slightly off-topic, because it's been bugging me - I usually think in whole sentences. I have never thought It's a. Have you?)
The good reviews on Goodreads call it impressive, intelligent and accomplished. So, because I just don't get this book, does that mean I'm none of the above? Am I missing out? What does it say about my own writing - am I too simple, too basic?
Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it?
Have you ever read a book that made you feel stupid?
Can you explain experimental to me?