18 November 2014

Artful, by Ali Smith

This collections of lectures -- or should I say essays -- or should I say stories -- or should I say, well, I just don't know, because it is such a dazzlingly creative work that I haven't the faintest idea how one would characterize it. A narrator is visited by (or imagines the return of) her dead lover, who was a lecturer in literature. She discusses things like time and plot and form, and is also well-versed in poetry, or maybe she is just relating the lover's lectures, or maybe both. Occasionally she inserts bits of poetry or quotes from Oliver Twist and it is stunning, how something about the context makes you stop and read them so carefully, and marvel at the density of expression, how tightly packed a poem is. The observations about literature are mostly quite pleasant and interesting, as are the interactions, or are they imagined? with the lover, and the musings about love and loss and getting on with your life.

All in all, a wonderful tribute to art and relationships. Just incredible. Savour it.

No comments: