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Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis [Hardcover]

Ali Smith
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Nov 2007
Girl meets boy. It's a story as old as time. But what happens when an old story meets a brand new set of circumstances? Ali Smith's re-mix of Ovid's most joyful metamorphosis is a story about the kind of fluidity that can't be bottled and sold. It is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations. Funny and fresh, poetic and political, Girl meets boy is a myth of metamorphosis for the modern world.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; First Edition edition (1 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841958697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841958699
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


From its arresting opening line... To its exuberant ending, Girl Meets Boy is concerned with gender, love and transformation. -- London Review of Books

Frothy and packed with unexpected after-kick, Girl meets Boy's blend of heart, head and spirit is a splendid distillation -- Janice Galloway

Book Description

A dazzling piece of storytelling from one of Britain’s most brilliant writers --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ovidian Myths for the Modern Reader 24 Jun 2009
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
The Canongate myths series goes from strength to strength with this addition to the oeuvre. Ali Smith has created a remarkably sweet and funny version of Ovid's gender swapping myth of Iphis, the young Cretan princess brought up as a man to save her life.

The story is transposed to modern day Scotland and the story of two sisters struggling to find love and their place in the world. Set against two contemporary stories of the politics of water and the rights of modern women it manages to tell some shocking truths in a palatable way by weaving them into a story of love and coming of age.

It reminded me in parts very much of the style of Jeanette Winterson, particularly in her earlier works like Sexing The Cherry. But as I love Jeanette Winterson this is no bad thing at all.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd give it 10 stars if I could 26 Mar 2008
It's very rare that a book makes me cry real, actual, physical tears, but Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith had me sobbing like a Brownie. Tears of happiness I might add: tears of happiness for the characters, and tears of happiness because the novel itself, the words Ali Smith had written, were just perfect.

The book is a modern-day retelling of the myth of Iphis, one of the few happy moments in Ovid's Metamorphoses, where Iphis the girl is transformed into Iphis the boy in time to marry Ianthe (a girl), the love of her/his life. In Smith's version, there are two sisters in Inverness, Midge (or Imogen) and Anthea. Midge works for Pure, a company selling bottled water to the middle class masses, while Anthea is dreamier. Anthea falls in love with Robin - a girl with her name spelled the boys way - when she daubs anti-capitalist slogans on the outside of the Pure building.

As the chapters jump from Anthea's voice, to Midge's, and back, we see two sisters coming to terms with their lives and their loves and their true feelings. The endings for both girls are truly euphoric both in plot terms and in the tone of Smith's evocative, provocative stream of consciousness prose:

"We'd thought we were along, Robin and I. We'd thought it was just us, under the trees outside the cathedral. But as soon as we'd made our vows there was a great whoop of joy behind us, and when we turned round we saw all the people, there must have been hundreds, they were clapping and cheering, they were throwing confetti, they waved and they roared celebration."

Ali Smith is at her best, too, when she writes about love. Rarely do I find a writer that can encapsulate the very essence of what it feels like to be in love, but she does it. And she did it in this book time and time again...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly good 26 July 2008
By unlikely_heroine VINE VOICE
I always enjoy Ali Smith's writing, but have found some of her books to work better than others. "Girl Meets Boy" is the best novel of hers that I have read. It is quite simply sensational and shows an author on the top of her form and completely in tune with her subject.

One of a series in which ancient myths are rewritten as modern stories by a range of authors, this is part love story, part fable, and in part a depiction of the modern corporate world. The characters are brilliantly real - even if this is a modern myth - and what Smith has to say about love and life in this little book is inspirational, not to mention very entertaining. Every piece of dialogue rings true and there are truly great passages such as the very believable (and funny) inner thoughts of Imogen, a.k.a. "Midge" as she realises her sister has fallen in love with another girl; and the stream of consciousness of Anthea expressing how it feels to be in love with Robin.

It is a cliche, but I did actually struggle to put this book down. For its writing, but also its powerfully uplifting message and life-affirming qualities, I must give this book five stars. If only all fiction was as good as this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Homophobia, sexism, sexuality & love 30 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Ali Smith tackles Ovid and metamorphosis in Girl Meets Boy. The book is about two sisters and their relationship and It is in my opinion a story well told. The themes are primarily homophobia, sexism, sexuality and love. It is divided into sections and each section is viewed from a different perspective. The book is fairly short but it packs a lot into a few pages. I have only read one other book by Smith but I certainly rate her as a writer. I finished this book last night and I already I want to read it again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First but not the last... 26 July 2009
This is the first book by Ali Smith i have read, and it won't be the last!

I don't want to spoil the story, and many other reviews go over the myth, but from someone who has never heard of the myth it was well told and portrayed in the reflection of modern day.

Beautifully written, deff a book to buy and keep on your shelf as a feel good book on a cold winters evening.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Thing of Legend 30 Jan 2009
By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 500 REVIEWER
I have to admit that despite my mother being a Classics teacher, though possibly because of that, I have no recollection of many of the great myths. The one that I did love the most was Persephone I don't know why though looking back. Anyway I digress, with that in mind I went into reading Ali Smiths Girl Meets Boy not thinking of it as a re-working of Ovid's Metamorphoses or The Myth of Iphis but simply as a new novel. I have to say I don't think you have to know Ovid to enjoy this anymore or less you will think its wonderful either way. You do get to hear the story of Iphis in the book though about half way through and you can see it reflected in the novel as a whole.

Girl Meets Boy tells the story of sisters Imogen and Anthea Gunn, both are at pivotal points in their lives but for completely different reasons. They have grown up loving but not quite understanding each other in Inverness and working for the mass global firm Pure. However things start to change when Anthea leaves/is sacked and on her way out meets rebellious Robin a girl who is writing anti-capitalist slogans on the Pure Head Office walls.

The chapters of the novel switch between sisters, we here how Anthea falls for Robin and then the shock of Imogen to Anthea's sexuality (which is hilarious) and onto Imogen's discovery about corporations and the ways in which they work. Ali Smith manages to feed us lots of information about sexuality, globalisation and women's rights and yet make it light hearted and upbeat which is quite a feat. The most important theme in the novel is love, something its incredibly optimistic about which is a joy to read.

Like good myths of old there is a lot of surrealism in the novel, not masses, but a bit.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic feminine author
Smith has written about change beautifully in her book. Her poetic and flowing style of writing is beautiful and I enjoyed the different perspectives of sisters Anthea and Midge. Read more
Published 8 hours ago by Amy Hope
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book- one to think about.
I purchased this book as a recommended read for my University module on Criticism and Literary Theory. I found it a very quick read, with a great writing style. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Emily
3.0 out of 5 stars pleasant but not very engaging
This book was about two sisters and their relationships, both in their work environment and in their personal lives. Read more
Published 6 months ago by marianna
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning book
an amazing book, really cheap and in great quality. I highly recommend it if you've never read Ali Smith before.
Published 6 months ago by Melissa Holden
3.0 out of 5 stars Mythical Mixup
This remix of Ovid's myth of Iphis and Ianthe certainly has its moments but also has several unsatisfactory elements to it. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Stuart Sussex Scribe
4.0 out of 5 stars A joyful, playful love story
Anthea can't find any enthusiasm for the Pure corporation for whom her increasingly thin sister Midge has found her work. Read more
Published 22 months ago by neverendings
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyful, life-affirming and inspiring
What a gem of a book! A joyful, playful myth about a myth: an absolute, transcendant triumph with a surface sparkle that takes the reader deep into issues of what it means to be a... Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2011 by Artemis
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad...
It certainly touches on many wonderful issues, and the plot is engaging and exciting, but the writing style wasn't for me. Read more
Published on 20 May 2010 by E. Elizabeth
2.0 out of 5 stars not my cup of tea
-very nicely written
-an interesting idea
-not really very satisfying
and i love mythology
Published on 28 April 2009 by Ms. R. Jimenez
1.0 out of 5 stars girl meets boy
I am having great difficulty getting into this book and I am struggling at present to understand what it is about. Read more
Published on 18 April 2009 by V. Hilsley
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