How to be Both

Front Cover
Hamish Hamilton, 2014 - Art, Italian - 371 pages
"The brilliant Booker-nominated novel from one of our finest authors: How to Be Both is a daring, inventive tale that intertwines the stories of a defiant Renaissance painter and a modern teenage girl. How can one be both--near and far, past and present, male and female? In Ali Smith's new novel, two extraordinary characters inhabit the spaces between categories. In one half of the book, we follow the story of Francescho del Cossa, a Renaissance painter in fifteenth-century Italy who assumes a duel identity, living as both a man and a woman. In the novel's other half, George, a contemporary English teenage girl, is in mourning after the death of her brilliant, rebellious mother. As she struggles to fill the void in her life, George finds her thoughts circling again and again around a whimsical trip she and her mother once made to Italy, to see a certain Renaissance fresco... These two stories call out to each other in surprising and deeply resonant ways to form a veritable literary double-take, bending the conventions of genre, storytelling, and our own preconceptions"--

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User Review  - jphamilton - LibraryThing

I’m getting to the point where Ali Smith novels go one of two ways with me. Either they simply don’t click, nothing connects, and I find myself starting to skim her prose—which makes me feel simply ... Read full review

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User Review  - richardderus - LibraryThing

Rating: 2.5* of five Just not what I would describe as a successful experiment; more a failed gimmick. "George"'s androgyny and Francesco's response to it probably sounded good in 2010 or so, as the ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

ALI SMITH's works of fiction include the novel Hotel World,which was short-listed for both the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award, and The Accidental,which won the Whitbread Award and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. Her story collections include Free Love,which won a Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award and a Scottish Arts Council Award, The Whole Story and Other Stories, and How to be Both, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction in 2015. Born in Inverness, Scotland, Smith lives in Cambridge, England.

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