Both sides now

11 12 2016

How to be both by Ali Smith

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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.

It’s very intelligent and well-written but arguably just too clever for its own good. The two books in one and read in either order idea is really unnecessary. But then it won loads of prizes so what do I know.

3 star

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