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The First Person and other Stories

Ali Smith

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Penguin

Published : 2009

Copyright : Ali Smith 2008

ISBN-10 : PB 0-14-103801-2
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-14-103801-8

Publisher's Write-Up

Distinguished by Smith's trademark ability to unearth flashes of truth and depth in the everyday, The First Person and Other Stories sparkles with warmth and humanity. In one story, a middle-aged woman conducts a poignant conversation with her fourteen-year-old self. In another, an innocent supermarket shopper finds in her trolley a foul-mouthed, insulting, yet beautiful child. And in a third story that challenges the boundaries between fiction and reality, the narrator, 'Ali', drinks tea, phones a friend, and muses on the surprising similarities between a short story and a nymph...

Fans of Ali Smith will be delighted, amused and moved by these stories from a writer at the very top of her game.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Ben Macnair (301110) Rating (8/10)

Review by Ben Macnair
Rating 8/10
The Short stories that form The First Person and other Stories offer a snap-shot of life in all of its shades, from the humorous, to pathos and high emotion.

The 12 stories continue Smith’s work with the form in her previous collections, Other Stories and Other Stories and The Whole Story and Other Stories. At times she subverts the form, throwing a wild experimental side into the work, but they follow the golden rules of short story writing, being entertaining, and never out staying their welcome.

The stories move from The Child, wherein the beautiful baby a woman finds in her shopping basket, speaks to her in a received pronunciation voice whilst making the types of comment that would make Jim Davidson ask if he was in the right profession, to the mysteries parcel a couple finds on their doorstep in Astute, Fiery, Luxurious which looks at the memories couples reveal to each other.

The past is also explored, where in Writ the central character finds herself facing her fourteen year old self, and each one trying to relate to the other.

Relationships are also examined in many of the stories, from the loose conversations three people have in a lonely pub in Present, to Fidelio and Bess which finds a couple deepening their relationship through culture, whilst The Third Person goes from a couple just discovering each other, to another couple arguing, to soldiers, and shows what can happen all over the world in the same moments.

This is a good collection of short stories that work well together, whilst each piece works equally well by itself. The common consensus is that Short Stories do not really sell, but hopefully this collection will go some way to change that perception.
Ben Macnair (30th November 2010)

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