Thursday, 10 June 2010

The First Person and Other Stories

by Ali Smith

So far, I liked every book by Ali Smith that I read. Her novels are great. But it is the short stories where she excels. And this short book of short stories is a treasure.

In The Child, the cherub-like creature is found sitting in the Waitrose shopping trolley. Just wait till the infant starts talking.

In The History of History, the schoolgirl writes a newspaper report of the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, while her “mother’s gone mad”.

In Writ, the narrator comes home from work only to discover her fourteen-old-self sitting there. Again.

In The Third Person she takes the art to the extreme: it is several stories, none has either beginning or end.

“All short stories long”, she writes. I am not sure about that. But all short stories by Ali Smith long.

The First Person and Other Stories
All short stories long.

This one is about two people who have just gone to bed together for the first time. It’s autumn. They met in the summer.
They’ve done it, they’ve shrugged themselves out of their shy clothes at last, they've slipped in under the covers of a small double bed, they’re holding each other in nothing but skin. One of them even has a quite bad cold and the other doesn’t care. Ah, love. Outside, the trees are quiet. The light is coming down. It’s five in the evening. But enough about them. It’s spring. It’s morning. In the tress the birds are singing like crazy.

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