The Lesser Bohemians

by Eimear McBride

Read time: about 5 minutes

There is an abyss between where the thoughts end and the speech begins. The gibberish falls and spats into the nothingness and what comes out is the polished sophistication which mocks at the face of the innocence of purity. The rawness evaporated, the crystal of fine words decorate the papers.

The Lesser Bohemians does not crystallize words. It knocks your head around and swallows you into the world where your thoughts come out as raw and hard hitting. This book is one of its kind.

Cover page

The cover page befits the content inside. Eily is a promiscuous character in the book. She is telling her tale through perforations. She does not reveal herself completely at once but you come to her acquaintance when you walk with her into her story. On the cover, Elily is giving a glimpse of her world. The cover page portrays that perfectly. Also tells you that you need to read through her mind to get to know Eily. It is not easy but it is beautiful.


Eily is narrating her own story as it happens every day. She has recently moved out of Ireland to London to study drama. She is conscious. She is awkward with sex. Everyone at her age is losing their virginity but Eily finds it difficult to get intimate. So much that it is constantly on her mind. Eily has got a great depth to her character. The dots connect during the course of the narration but as she reveals herself she is more lovable.


Eily has recently moved to London to study drama. She is always watching her step in the new city. The book begins with her noticing different noises and watching each step. She is trying to mingle with her classmates who have an active social life. She, there, always finds herself out of place. And one day she meets someone in a bar. They start a conversation on Dostoevsky’s ‘Devils’ and then starts off the love saga.

The content is a lot different than other whirlwind romances that you must have come across. The book progresses from the romance to intimacy. The author often uses the term ‘bone’ and ‘skin’ to define the layers of the characters. The skin is a put on. They keep changing. Only these two know each other by bones. And their lives will never be same again. There is a lot of insecurity, past mis happenings, infidelity, lifelessness and the opposite of it. It is a roller coaster ride. Similar to ‘The God of Small Things’ this book is hard hitting.

There are phrases like ‘The anatomy of melancholy’ and sentences like ‘Maybe today’s the day to lie on the Heath and drink cold beers and read books whose spines we will not spoil.’

The story is filled with intricacies which you do not get enough of. The book is a world of its own and everything else fades away when you are inside it.


This is probably the what makes the book as beautiful as it is. The narration is exquisite. The pre-speech content is gripping. The thoughts are put out raw. There is no filter. It is what makes the story more intimate. Punctuation is put aside and the words are clubbed together to showcase the state of mind. It is just brilliant.

Good points

The cover page is beautiful. It is suggestive of the bohemian spirit inside without revealing much. The characters are intricate. All shades of the personality are uncovered during the course of the story. The content is gripping but what takes the cake away is the stunning narration. The rawness is impactful.

Bad points

It may be a little difficult to get used to the narration initially but it gets interesting ahead.


This maybe the best book I read this year, and this is just the beginning of the month!

Whom do I recommend this to

This book is for those who like a well-told story. This is for those who want to be a part of something magical than just talk about it from the outside.

Quotable quotes

Broken mirrors are waste in a broken society.

Lovers, that’s what and how I will think of him now.

I wanted to give her experiences because I’d no money for buying stuff. I wanted her to see the world and learn not to be scared like I’d been.

Well, maybe today’s the day to lie on the Heath and drink cold beers and read books whose spines we will not spoil, remember?

This love insists upon itself. And we will be ourselves again.

Then I am back in the world and must understand again how to cover my bones with my skin.

There now. There it is. We kiss then till she is gone and we’re turned back into lovers, freed from the monster. Saved from the abyss. Nunneries. Churchyards. Freezing lakes. Close shave. Day zero - we are this, this is what we choose.

I inhabit such ordinary skin while he is something more.

Not hate. I see it now, so clearly tonight, that the opposite of love is despair.

When I first came here I wanted the world to look at me and now I might prefer to be the eye instead.

I received this book from the publisher for review. The opinions are my own, completely uninfluenced.

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH