Monday, April 24, 2017

How To Be Both by Ali Smith

How To Be Both
by Ali Smith

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon
Goodreads

Published: 2014
Publisher: Pantheon
Genre: Literary
Hardback: 384 pages
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
Consider this moral conundrum for a moment, George's mother says to George who's sitting in the front passenger seat.

Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith’s novels are like nothing else. A true original, she is a one-of-a-kind literary sensation. Her novels consistently attract serious acclaim and discussion—and have won her a dedicated readership who are drawn again and again to the warmth, humanity and humor of her voice.

How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a Renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real—and all life’s givens get given a second chance.

A NOTE TO THE READER:
Who says stories reach everybody in the same order?
This novel can be read in two ways and this book provides you with both.
In half of all printed editions of the novel the narrative EYES comes before CAMERA.
In the other half of printed editions the narrative CAMERA precedes EYES.
The narratives are exactly the same in both versions, just in a different order.

The books are intentionally printed in two different ways, so that readers can randomly have different experiences reading the same text. So, depending on which edition you happen to receive, the book will be: EYES, CAMERA, or CAMERA, EYES. Enjoy the adventure.


My two-bits:

This is composed of two stories that make up one story that involve the world of art. Two different sections represent the past and the present with similarities and ties. But each have their set of characters that have perspectives of an artist and observer.

The running theme of two sides - things seen and unseen plays out throughout.

After discussion with my book group, I grew to appreciate this book better with an interest to re-read it.

Also, gained an interest in inspecting and looking at religious art a little more while at a museum.

~*~

* my copy starts off with George, the second version begins with Francescho

* part of Book Passage Literary Prize Book Group (here)

SHORT-LISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE
WINNER OF THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
WINNER OF THE 2014 GOLDSMITHS PRIZE
WINNER OF THE 2014 COSTA NOVEL AWARD
WINNER OF THE SALTIRE LITERARY BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD

A Best Book of the Year: NPR, Financial Times


3 comments:

  1. Intriguing concept for a story- or pair of stories. It sounds good. Renaissance art is an interest for me.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How interesting! I might have to find this at the library :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Terrific concept, the art would be interesting in and of itself :)

    ReplyDelete

 
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