Girl Meets Boy
- Canongate Books Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 05 June 2008
- Modern & Contemporary
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I absolutely loved this. This is the third book by Smith I've read, and each book makes me love her more. I liked The Accidental quite well, and Hotel World even more, and I think this is my favorite of the three. I can't wait to read more by her.
Ali Smith's style grows on me with each book I read. This slim volume plumbs the depths & scales the heights in a voice uniquely Ali Smith's own. I love her writing, it's like puzzle pieces, putting together a feeling.
A modern version of the myth of Iphis, originally found in Ovid's Metamorphoses. This version deals a little bit with fluidity of gender as well as the modern corporate world. Written in a semi-stream of consciousness style, this short book had a dreamlike quality to it that I liked very much. However, it is one where I wish I had not read any other opinions of it while reading, as I noticed the flatness of some of the characters and the unsubtlety of the politics. I think that may have been intentional on the part of the author though, because myths typically are not filled with complex characters or messages. I liked the writing so much that I will definitely try and read more of Smith's work. This is part of Canongate's Myths series, of which I have also read and enjoyed Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad. 8.5/10.
This novel is a modern riff on Ovid's story of Iphis (a girl raised as a boy who falls in love with another girl). Two sisters, Anthea and Midge narrate the story in turns with language that is spare and poetic. In fact, reading this book is more like reading a play than a novel: it relies on the power of voices, both in dialogue and internal monologue. The sisters' grandfather begins the book by telling them of subversive feminist acts that he took part in back 'when I was a girl'. Anthea grows up and falls in love with a subversive feminist woman much like the ones her grandfather described (the woman sprays graffiti with important messages about the world in public spaces). Smith employs stunningly beautiful language to describe the love between these women. Meanwhile, Anthea's sister Midge has become part of corporate life, where she is brittle and demeaned by men. The novel is very concerned with bringing attention to modern political issues (ie. the evils of bottled water, the unfairness of society to women, the perversity of corporations). While these are fine issues to raise, I felt that they were not presented in a particularly unique way. Some of the issues, and the descriptions of the evils of corporations seemed a bit too obvious and easy. I also did not feel particularly close to the characters - they seemed more like archetypes than fully fleshed out people who will linger in my mind. Perhaps this is because of the script-like style of the book. Nonetheless, Smith's writing is well worth reading, although I would recommend The Accidental over Girl Meets Boy.
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