Saturday, 4 October 2014

How to be both by Ali Smith

"So things far away and close could be held together, in the same picture?"

Well, as you might have guessed from my penchant for lists and prizewinners, I'm working my way through some of the nominees for this year's Man Booker Prize and here we have a novel that's managed to shortlist since the long list mentioned on the cover.
So to the novel in question. Well, its prose is a little difficult to get into at first, meandering in strange patterns that almost resemble poetry.
This is a novel in two parts, in two very different time periods. Indeed even the writing style undergoes a significant shift with the change in stories.
I was somewhat labouring with it to begin with and then it all pulled together quite beautifully and I became enamoured.There was something really interesting about the description of the photograph of the two artists from the sixties that forms the front cover of the book, as if the book itself and thereby the reader looking at it became part of the story. In any case this strange combination of tales from the cross dressing 15th Century artist to a daughter who has lost her mother in the present day.
Take your time, sink into the story and let me know what you thought of it?

4 out of 5 female artists dressing as men might achieve pay equality.

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