Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2020
‘Insightful. Inventive. Hilarious. Genius’ EIMEAR MCBRIDE
‘Bina is fiction of the rarest and darkest kind, a work whose pleasures must be taken measure for measure with its pains’ RACHEL CUSK
‘A captivating look at female friendship’ MAIL ON SUNDAY
My name is Bina and I’m a very busy woman. That’s Bye-na, not Beena. I don’t know who Beena is but I expect she’s having a happy life. I don’t know who you are, or the state of your life. But if you’ve come all this way here to listen to me, your life will undoubtedly get worse. I’m here to warn you . . .
So begins this ‘novel in warnings’ – an unforgettable tour de force in the voice of an ordinary-extraordinary woman who has simply had enough. Through the character of Bina, who is writing out her story on the backs of discarded envelopes, Anakana Schofield filters a complex moral universe filled with humour and sadness, love and rage, and the consolations, obligations and mysteries of lifelong friendship. A work of great power, skill, and transformative empathy from a unique and astonishing writer.
Intimate, disarming, and riotous, Bina is a searing exploration of one woman's soul that unwinds like a reluctant confession. Whether Bina is rescuing a ne'er-do-well from a ditch, taking a hammer to a plane or considering the dark request of her best friend, Schofield has created a compelling, practical everywoman - someone who has had enough and is ready to make a spectacle * Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster and Monkey Beach * Excellent . . . Painted with colour and wit, there emerges a whole host of absurdist characters clamoring for Bina's attention. The emotional core of the novel is Bina's relationship with her dear friend Phil . . . Their friendship is beautifully realised on the page, providing a life-raft both for Bina and the reader in the face of so much cruelty . . . [In Bina] we are given a beautiful, devastating tale about the tragedy of old age -- Lamorna Ash * Times Literary Supplement * Anakana Schofield's Bina is a fiction of the rarest and darkest kind, a work whose pleasures must be taken measure for measure with its pains. Few writers operate the scales of justice with more precision, and Schofield is no less exacting in what she chooses to weigh. The novel's themes - male violence, the nature of moral courage, the contemporary problems of truth and individuality, the status of the female voice - could hardly be more timely or germane. Schofield's sense of injustice is unblinking and without illusion, yet her writing is so vivacious, so full of interest and lust for life: she is the most compassionate of storytellers, wearing the guise of the blackest comedian * Rachel Cusk, author of Outline and Transit * While Schofield's themes are transcendently bleak - so bleak that the bleakness must be the point - her style feels almost decadently addictive. Bina makes for great company; her obstinacy, like Bartleby's, is flecked with heroic resistance, and her complaints elicit a pleasing mixture of satisfaction and dread * New Yorker * A captivating look at female friendship and how women's voices go unheard -- Gwendolyn Smith * Mail on Sunday * Bina is a bitterly funny novel but one that carries moral weight. Ultimately much of its energy comes from the simple subversive act: making a woman's life matter, making her voice be heard -- Evie Wyld * New York Times * Insightful. Inventive. Hilarious. Genius * Eimear McBride *
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