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Artful [Kindle Edition]

Ali Smith
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
Kindle Price: £6.64 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Originally four lectures given at Oxford University, Ali Smith's Artful is a tidal wave of ideas.

Refusing to be tied down to either fiction or the essay form, Artful is narrated by a character who is haunted - literally - by a former lover, the writer of a series of lectures about art and literature. Full of both the poignancy and humour of fiction and all the sideways insights and jaunty angles you would expect from Ali Smith's criticism, it explores form, style, life, love, death, mortality, immortality and what art and writing can mean.

Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and the Orange prize, and winner of the Encore Award and the Arts Council Scottish Book Award, Ali Smith is one of our most interesting writers at work today. Artful shows her at her most innovative, warm and generous best.

Praise for Artful:

'Artful is a revelation; a new kind of book altogether . . . it could have only been written by Ali Smith. It will open doors for writers; a kind of Room of One's Own for today's readers. Only Smith won't stay in one room. An intimate study of grief; Artful makes you glad to be alive' Jackie Kay

'Smart, allusive, informal, playful, audacious' Independent

'Ali Smith's latest book once again finds her testing the boundaries of genre . . . powerful and moving' London Review of Books

'Artful transports the reader to this magical terrain . . . with its blending of criticism and fiction, Artful belongs in a genre of its own . . . a joyful and optimistic paean to the healing powers of art. It will be entertaining reading for anyone interested in the art of writing, and also of living, well' Anita Sethi, New Statesman

'A brilliant and moving book and as delightfully dodgy as the character from Oliver Twist whom the title evokes' Claire Harman, Evening Standard Books of the Year

Praise for Ali Smith:

'Smith can make anything happen, which is why she is one of our most exciting writers today' Daily Telegraph

'She's a genius, genuinely modern in the heroic, glorious sense' Alain de Botton

'A true and valuable British original' Nick Hornby

'Smith's love of language lights up all her books . . . she's someone to relish' The New York Times Book Review

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962 and lives in Cambridge. She is the author of There but for the, Free Love, Like, Hotel World, Other Stories and Other Stories, The Whole Story and Other Stories, The Accidental, Girl Meets Boy and The First Person and Other Stories.

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About the Author

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962 and lives in Cambridge. She is the author of Artful, There but for the, How to be both, Free Love, Like, Hotel World, Other Stories and Other Stories, The Whole Story and Other Stories, The Accidental, Girl Meets Boy, The First Person and Other Stories. Hotel World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize and The Accidental was shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Orange Prize. How to be both won the Baileys Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Folio Prize.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10554 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0143124498
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0098P10UM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #35,755 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Marvelous Work 29 Jan. 2013
Artful is based on four lectures Ali Smith gave at Oxford University. The lectures were done in a unique format as if someone had discovered essays on art and fiction written by former lover who haunts you. I really loved Ali Smith's short stories, especially "True Short Story" where there is a lot of material on the nature of the short story. When I saw these essays as forthcoming on Amazon I knew I really wanted to read them. There is much that is marvelous in these wonderful essays. Smith loves the short story and there is a lot to learn about the form in this book, along with much more.

Last year as I read articles on the short story by William Trevor and Elizabeth Bowen who both said the short story was the newest literary form. I thought who am I to contradict them but every fiber I had
screamed "totally wrong, they are the oldest form". I was so happy to see Smith agree with this and talking about ancient works such as The Epic of Gilgamesh as pieced together short stories and even talking about cave paintings as being inspired by short stories. I felt a shiver when she talked of countless literatures of the past lost to us. I

Smith talks about why we need art and the limitations and reach of short stories. She organizes her lectures around four themes, "On Time", "On Form", "On Edge", and "On Offer and Reflection". I do not think there is an "Ali Smith doctrine" in these lectures, she is artist and a lover of the short story, not really a formal theoretician or academic (thankfully!) The greatness of these lectures, and they are marvels, is in the many wonderful things she says that make you ponder if you agree or not. There are lots of really interesting reading ideas here also.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Challenging Read but Brilliantly written 30 Jan. 2013
The more I read interesting and different forms of the novel, the more I am convinced that the book cannot die. It shouldn't and it will not. Reading will never go out of style, and Ali Smith is one of those authors that keep proving this time and again. I started reading her when I was about twenty four or so and haven't stopped since then. All her books are quirky and have this mischief sense about them. This is what attracts me most to her books and her writing. If a writer can make me want to read his or her books without stopping, then that writer has done me in.

"Artful" is unlike anything which Smith has written before. It is based on four lectures given by Ali Smith at Oxford University. "Artful" is all about books and the love of reading and what reading can do to readers. The essays are on four themes: Time, Edge, Offer and Reflection. The lectures were then delivered in the format - as if someone had discovered essays on art and fiction written by a former lover who haunts you. So partly, the book seems to read like a novel and at times like a work of non-fiction, which is a very unique way to write or compile a book.

The narrative and form of the book will instantly get to the reader, such is its power. I had to read the book in parts - could not finish it in one sitting because come to think of it, because of the structure, it is a difficult read in parts. One has to get used to the way it is written and only then can the reader be at ease. What attracted me the most to this book was that it was about art and more so about the love of books and fiction.

"Artful" while is a challenging book; it also lets you explore your imagination and ideas.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius 28 Jan. 2013
By lapine
I cannot believe this book only has one review - how could something so sublime evoke so little reaction? Artful is like having your mind kissed by a genius - repeatedly. It will draw you into a story of lost-love whilst simultaneously taking you on a voyage of joy and inspiration. You will google incessantly - Artful leads you to the most delightful places, you will dance past artists, authors and poets as diverse as Kusama, WG Sebald and George Mackay Brown. But in many ways, the less expectations you have the better; come to this book with an open mind and be truly amazed.

I loved this book so much I grieved for it when it was finished. I wish I could spend every day with such a knowledgeable companion. Artful is blissful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it 16 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like opening a window into my head, Artful is playful and cleverly constructed, beautifully told.
Want to read again immediately but need to let it settle
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It starts with a ghost story, a story that weaves its way around four linked lectures. Smith is playing with form and function here and at the beginning I couldn’t understand the switching from the narrator telling us their story and then switching to the lectures on time, on form, on edge and on offer and on reflection but there was a point where I stopped being annoyed by the lecturing tone and relaxed into taking on board what was being said, even if the messages were being mixed together.

You see the narrator is reading you the unfinished lectures from her partner and ghostly visitor, which makes it quite moving the more you read.

I was left thinking that people haunt themselves with the idea of the dead but if the dead actually did haunt them they’d react and cope completely differently – a lesson our narrator leans quite harshly in the end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
You cannot help but agree with his analysis but one becomes faint hearted about his prescription for change.
Published 3 months ago by Anthony M. Godley
5.0 out of 5 stars Written with Artistry.
A wonderful series of lectures, full of references, both familiar and foreign. Eloquent and absorbing. I shall read it again and again.
Published 3 months ago by Rowan ferguson
5.0 out of 5 stars Ali Smith wears her intelligence and learning so lightly that it is a...
The fact that this book is a series of lectures about art adapted so as to form a narrative might lead you to believe it could be a bit dry. However, it is completely engaging. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Snow on Hills
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As a writer myself I enjoyed it immensly.
Published 7 months ago by Ms. E. L. fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars Greek lessons can be worth it.
Can words given and received be the great gift? This woven story is as close as it gets to a present from a stranger who in the giving shares a remarkable affirmation. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Earnest
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A very uneven book with a mix of didactic lecture notes and a bleak, unappealing story.
Published 12 months ago by Hilly Gilly
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Artful' at all sorts of levels
This is not really a novel, although there is arguably a vague storyline. It is rather a collection of 'talks' delivered by the author, which pursue familar concepts in a variety... Read more
Published 17 months ago by L. Nunn
3.0 out of 5 stars Another one on lost love relationship
Misleading title, I cannot relate the writing or lectures on 4 subjects with the title.
Enjoyable and easy read through memory lane of a love ultimatly lost personal... Read more
Published on 15 Jan. 2013 by Amazon Customer
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