The Perfect Book to Start the Year With (Plus 18 Others)
The novel—a cutting-edge, even radical rumination on time, language, art, love—is split into two parts. In some editions, the book opens from the artist's point of view; in others, the contemporary setting comes first. The variation underscores Smith's desire to illustrate how stories can intersect and overlap like Venn diagrams, wherever or whenever they are set. So the book you purchase will begin either with del Cossa watching George as she stares at the painter's artwork, or with George's reminiscing about her trip to Italy, where her enraptured mother observed that del Cossa's piece was "so warm it's almost friendly. A friendly work of art. I've never thought such a thing in my life."
Scottish writer Ali Smith is one of our most delightfully experimental writers, in the vein of Jeanette Winterson and even Virginia Woolf. By breaking the constraints of a traditional novel, she reinvents it as an exultant testament to creativity.