10 Experimental Novels That Are Worth the Effort

Today marks the US publication of Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, a highly experimental, Joycean novel that, despite the fact that modern readers often eschew difficulty, has been heaped with awards. It is, in fact, a difficult book — but it’s totally worth it. And it’s not the only one. After the jump, ten experimental novels that are worth the effort it takes to parse them. Take a look, and since this is only a list of one reader’s favorites, add your own to the bizarre pile in the comments.


A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Eimear McBride

McBride’s widely lauded novel is full of fragmented, floating sentences that sometimes feel like only gestures at sentences, like gestures at the things under thoughts, that real, pre-language stuff. It’s hard going at first, but once you let the language wash over you and form a rhythm, the book blossoms into a gorgeous, brutal stream of word and thought.