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Found 7 results

  1. Once upon a time, Ali Smith and I were besties. I loved her books, she loved my reviews of them and we smiled at each other at book festivals. Those were the days. Then, Ali Smith wrote The Accidental. This had a rollicking riff of an opening chapter-ette. It was like the Trainspotting Choose Life riff. It rocked. And somebody said to Ali Smith - you are a fantastic writer and you should do more of that. So she did. Now someone needs to tell her that she is good, but not that good. Her writing is not strong enough to carry a plotless book, despite more than one attempt
  2. Public Library is sold as a collection of stories. To this reader, at least, it felt more like a collection of essays. That is, there seemed to be little fictional drive. The broad format seems to be: I was doing A. I found B. This reminded me of C. I continued doing A. The essays all seem to have some kind of booky or literary angle that sometimes feels rather contrived. And in between each story/essay, there is a passage in italics, usually quoting famous people offering a personal reflection on their erstwhile use of public libraries. This often, but not always, involves the formative
  3. I had expected to be writing a gushing review exhorting people to read a great novel from one of Scotland’s liveliest writers. I have loved almost everything Ali Smith has written. Alas, How To Be Both has not hit the mark. Basically, it is two novellas, stitched together. In one of them, we find a 15th century Italian girl, dressed as a boy in order to pass herself off as a painter, working on frescoes for the local Duke. This girl, who adopts the name of Francescho, spends time exploring her sexuality in brothels, consorting with a pickpocket, and demanding more money. Oh, and she is dea
  4. The Reading Group I belong to recently tackled The Accidental by Ali Smith after reading rave reviews from the international press. It is the only book that came close to vying with Paul Theroux's Millroy the Magician for the title of Most Disliked Book. We are a diverse group of women, eclectic in our choice of books. Did we have our minds switched off and fail to grasp the signs of greatness so clear to the critics - including the Judges of the Whitbread Novel Prize 2005. Or was this a case of reviewer's hype and the Emperor's New Clothes? Has any member of
  5. Rescued Thread megustaleer 25th April 2006 08:40 PM In the first 75+ pages the reader experiences being in the head of a pre-pubescent girl, a tormented adolescent boy, and a predatory middle aged man. I found none of these habitats comfortable. This book seems to me to have been written with an eye on all the literary awards going, as the reader has to do all the work to make a comprehensible story out of the disjointed clips (to borrow the camera metaphor) of narrative. Hazel 26th April 2006 08:53 AM I completely agree Meg. I am finding it hard to get into and not exactly picking
  6. Rescued Thread For an Accidental Forum! katrina 9th May 2006 09:24 PM Hey guys, I know most people haven't really enjoyed this book but I still wanted to discuss some aspects of it before this book closes, which is looking likely to be very soon. I personally found this book far to contemporary and too rooted in this last couple of years. I don't understand how any editor/publisher expects this book to work as a work of literature or in a decades time. For example, the reference to Richard and Judy's book club (p 80), (Eve wants one of here books to be featured as a book group read) I foun
  7. Rescued Thread katrina 9th May 2006 09:47 PM Characters incl spoilers Which characters did you like/dislike? I really liked the son Magnus, especially as early on he was the first charcter that willed me on to keep reading. Didn't approve of the sex in the church though (and I'm not particuarly religious). As a family they were so lost and so naive, I wanted to bash their heads together so many times. Why didn't Eve leave Michael? What was so attractive about Michael? Why did he feel the need to mess around? And expect to get away with it? Why were the kids so neglected when they were ob
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