At the end of summer I was in a little village in Scotland, working with Christopher Burn on Poetry Changes Lives. He gave me a novel to read, which then came with me to Liverpool. It is called How to Be Both by Ali Smith.
At first I was intrigued. It was very different from what I have read before and was hard to follow. It was a lyrical puzzle. But once I got into it, it made perfect sense.
There’s a lot of suffering in the pages of this book which relates to the world of art, womanhood, death, teenage and romance. But overall the book has an uplifting feeling, at least it had for me, and it was my evening read for a few weeks.
The novel is made up of two stories which happened at about 500 years between each other. One is about a Renaissance artist, the other about a modern teenager. But each of them makes more sense when you read the other. The author did an experiment: the book was printed in two different versions; one starting with the Renaissance story; the other starts with the contemporary one.
Because this book was given to me I want to keep it moving. I’d like it to be in the hands of someone who really wants to read it.
So who wants it?
Leave a comment or drop me an email and I will send it to the first person who contacts me, with a card.
Photo credit: detail from the cover of How to Be Both by Ali Smith.