Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

"the accidental" by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, 2005)

Streams of consciousness and stories within stories - dreams, daydreams, flashbacks, pop-videos. Here's a sample

After the creak she can hear the silence in the rest of the house. They are all asleep. Nobody knows she is awake. Nobody is any the wiser. Any the wiser sounds like a character from ancient history. Astrid in the year 1003 BC (Before Celebrity) goes to the woods where Any the Wiser, who is really royalty and a king but who has unexpectedly chosen to be a Nobody and to live the simple life, lives in a hut, no, a cave (p.12)

She dips into various minds, some more focussed than others. As with "The Waves" one comes to identify the voices. Is the following the same voice as the previous extract?

It is unbelievably bright. He hunches his shoulders. Any minute now it will darken. That noise is just a wind in leaves, the noise of birds. The birds are like a nightmare. They are making the same noises, again, then again, then again. The leaves are hissing. Birds are pointless. (p.48)

One character writes lives up in the form of interviews. The genre takes its revenge, describing her. Then there's a section of sonnets and poems. How's it all going to end?

Heaven on earth. Alhambra.
It's a top-of-the-range but still-affordable five-door seven-seater people-carrier with a 2.8 litre engine that can go from 0-62 in 9.9 seconds.
It's a palace in the sun
It's a delelict old cinema packed with inflammable filmstock. Got a light? See? Careful. I'm everything you ever dreamed.

An interesting read.

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