Tag Archives: Ali Smith

Artful by Ali Smith

artful-by-ali-smith Title: Artful
Author: Ali Smith
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
ISBN: 9780241145418
Genre: Literary Fiction, Non-Fiction
Pages: 240
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

The more I read interesting and different forms of the novel, the more I am convinced that the book cannot die. It shouldn’t and it will not. Reading will never go out of style, and Ali Smith is one of those authors that keep proving this time and again. I started reading her when I was about twenty four or so and haven’t stopped since then. All her books are quirky and have this mischief sense about them. This is what attracts me most to her books and her writing. If a writer can make me want to read his or her books without stopping, then that writer has done me in.

“Artful” is unlike anything which Smith has written before. It is based on four lectures given by Ali Smith at Oxford University. “Artful” is all about books and the love of reading and what reading can do to readers. The essays are on four themes: Time, Edge, Offer and Reflection. The lectures were then delivered in the format – as if someone had discovered essays on art and fiction written by a former lover who haunts you. So partly, the book seems to read like a novel and at times like a work of non-fiction, which is a very unique way to write or compile a book. Might I also add that beside the lectures, this is a story of love and loss, of heartache and trying to cope. You will for sure know as you go along in the book.

The narrative and form of the book will instantly get to the reader, such is its power. I had to read the book in parts – could not finish it in one sitting because come to think of it, because of the structure, it is a difficult read in parts. One has to get used to the way it is written and only then can the reader be at ease. What attracted me the most to this book was that it was about art and more so about the love of books and fiction.

“Artful” while is a challenging book; it also lets you explore your imagination and ideas. It sort of blends your ideas with the books’ thoughts and that is something which I haven’t come across in many books. At the same time, it is quite a challenging book to read, if as a reader you are up to the challenge. Smith’s literary references are all over the place and it takes a reader some time to make sense of it, however once that happens, it is breezy read. I would recommend it to you, only if you are interested in books and fiction and art being talked about in another book.

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365 Short Stories: Day 1: The Ex-Wife by Ali Smith

public-library-and-other-stories-by-ali-smith

The first short story of the new year was Ali Smith’s “The Ex-Wife” from her recent collection, “Public Library and Other Stories”. Reading this short story was a surreal experience, because I am a big fan of Katherine Mansfield’s works and wasn’t aware that she was a character in it.

I absolutely loved this story from the word go and will not give away too much of the plot. But it is the story where Mansfield’s works come alive more than anywhere else and she is literally the third wheel in a relationship. Brilliant writing there from a master story-teller. Do give this story and the collection a shot.

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Flipkart: Public Library and Other Stories

387 Short Stories: Day 27: Story 27: To the Cinema by Ali Smith

Free Love and Other Stories by Ali Smith Title: To the Cinema
Author: Ali Smith
Taken from the Collection: Free Love and Other Stories

There are then some writers like Ali Smith that leave big gaps in their narrative. Spaces that can be filled by almost anything. She tends to do that for sure. She will explode the story into bits and you as a reader are left wondering what happened by the end of it all.

“To the Cinema” was today’s story and it is about a Sunday Morning Cinema’s usher’s life, her relationship with movies (her favourite ones that is) and her rocky relationship with her boyfriend Geoff. Smith also speaks of her loss of faith, and to add to it there is another angle to the tale – the attraction that a movie goer feels towards the usher. I love how the story developed and changed tracks, depending on who was narrating it. The quirks are all over the place, which only add to the fantastic story-telling form.

Book Review: Artful by Ali Smith

Artful by Ali Smith Title: Artful
Author: Ali Smith
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
ISBN: 9780241145418
Genre: Literary Fiction, Non-Fiction
Pages: 240
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5

The more I read interesting and different forms of the novel, the more I am convinced that the book cannot die. It shouldn’t and it will not. Reading will never go out of style, and Ali Smith is one of those authors that keep proving this time and again. I started reading her when I was about twenty four or so and haven’t stopped since then. All her books are quirky and have this mischief sense about them. This is what attracts me most to her books and her writing. If a writer can make me want to read his or her books without stopping, then that writer has done me in.

“Artful” is unlike anything which Smith has written before. It is based on four lectures given by Ali Smith at Oxford University. “Artful” is all about books and the love of reading and what reading can do to readers. The essays are on four themes: Time, Edge, Offer and Reflection. The lectures were then delivered in the format – as if someone had discovered essays on art and fiction written by a former lover who haunts you. So partly, the book seems to read like a novel and at times like a work of non-fiction, which is a very unique way to write or compile a book.

The narrative and form of the book will instantly get to the reader, such is its power. I had to read the book in parts – could not finish it in one sitting because come to think of it, because of the structure, it is a difficult read in parts. One has to get used to the way it is written and only then can the reader be at ease. What attracted me the most to this book was that it was about art and more so about the love of books and fiction.

“Artful” while is a challenging book; it also lets you explore your imagination and ideas. It sort of blends your ideas with the books’ thoughts and that is something which I haven’t come across in many books. At the same time, it is quite a challenging book to read, if as a reader you are up to the challenge. Smith’s literary references are all over the place and it takes a reader some time to make sense of it, however once that happens, it is breezy read. I would recommend it to you, only if you are interested in books and fiction and art being talked about in another book.

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Book Review: The Accidental by Ali Smith

Title: The Accidental
Author: Ali Smith
Publisher: Penguin Books, Penguin Ink
ISBN: 978-0-241-954456-0
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 306
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Surprise and Chance are intrusive. They wedge themselves in people’s lives without notice and the outcomes are unpredictable. No one knows what might happen or what shape lives will take. And this is the crux of Ali Smith’s, “The Accidental”. Though it is quite an old release, Penguin has come out with a great edition under “Penguin Ink” titles with a beautiful cover– hence the review.

The Accidental revolves around the Smart family – who are in particular need of an unexpected element to jostle their lives. All of them are on the brink of a major crisis in their lives and need that one distraction to fit everything in place – like an unsolved jigsaw puzzle. Enter: Amber – a stranger, the Smart children encounter on a summer holiday in Norfolk village. Amber’s intentions are unknown and mysterious, and yet she ends up transforming the family, and fixing the family’s set of fraught relationships.

A lot is happening in the book – a philandering husband, a son’s guilt, a daughter’s confusion and a mother’s secrets – the novel follows each member of the family – in sequential chapters – through beginning, middle and end. Amber is everything that you do not want to encounter and that is because what she brings to the family – uncovering their lives bit by bit, trying to restore order.

The novel is told in a stream of consciousness manner – and I love that writing style. This gives readers a glimpse into the inner lives of each member of the family and allows events to be viewed from multiple perspectives. Ali Smith’s writing is unpredictable. No two books are similar and neither is the writing. The characters are well drawn and there are no archetypes or stereotypes, which works best while writing this kind of a book. The Accidental is a book that calls for attention and there is nothing the reader can do but give it its due. A wonderful read and yet strangely disturbing and contemplative. A read that I would recommend to all.

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