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The Whole Story and Other Stories Paperback – 24 Jun 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (24 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140296808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140296808
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

"Ali Smith has got style, ideas and punch. Read her." --Jeanette Winterson "One of Britain's major talents. . . . Startlingly accomplished." --"The Atlantic Monthly ""A joy to read." --"Sunday Times "(London) "Smith is a gifted and meticulous architect of character and voice." --"The Washington Post ""She's street-savvy and poignant at once. . . . There's a kind of stainless steel clarity at the center of her fiction." --"The Boston Globe ""Smith proves herself an experimental writer even your mother could love." --"Elle"

About the Author

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962 and lives in Cambridge. Her first collection of stories, Free Love, won the Saltire First Book Award. Her first novel, Like, was published in 1997, and her second collection of stories, Other Stories and Other Stories, in 1999. Her prize-winning novel Hotel World was published in 2001.

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There was a man dwelt by a churchyard. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
Another collection by Ali Smith full of good stories, but some better than others. I preferred this collection to 'Other Stories and Other Stories' as a whole, but still felt that some of the warmth and depth of character of 'Free Love' was still not there. The tone of many of the stories was slightly surreal and quirky - sometimes this worked brilliantly, as in the opening story, about the man trying to build a boat out of copies of 'The Great Gatsby', or the story about the woman who believes she encounters Death at King's Cross, and then decides to walk from Letchworth to Cambridge when her train gets stuck (bizarrely, I'm convinced I was on the train that Smith is talking about, back in 2001!). At other times, the surrealism seems a little self-conscious, as in the tale of the woman who falls in love with a tree (and digs up the living room floor, planning to steal it and plant it there) or 'Scottish Love Songs', in which a ghostly pipe band pursue first an old woman and then a young girl. In a way, I think Smith is at her strongest when really working at observing individuals - the three sisters in 'Paradise', the woman remembering her childhood in 'The Book Club', and the woman roaming an art gallery in 'The Shortlist Season'. I prefer this to the more wacky stories - but then, this is a personal preference.

On the whole, an excellent collection, which I'd give 4.5 stars too if the option was there.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Katherine H. Robinson on 9 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Of the twelve stories in this book the ones that stand out are without a doubt "may" and "erosive." The former is a story of someone who falls in love with a tree ("I couldn't not. It was in blossom"). The story manages to be amusing and touching at the same time. Despite it being a bizarre idea it is done really well, and I though the ending was quite sad, it is written from the perspective of the neglected lover. "Erosive" is my favourite story of the book. It's short, and has a titled beginning, middle and end, with the Beginning written last. It's a love story but it's is done without any sentimentality, it is really fresh and pure. Certain lines are really striking such as "look at me now, here I am at the beginning, the middle and the end all at once…and behind it all, dull as a blown-out lightbulb, the fact of the word never."
The other 10 stories don't live up to the same standard in my opinion. With the exceptions of "believe me" and "the start of things" they don't seem to have the same simple yet striking emotion. Several of the stories are written in two sections, from the perspectives of each half of a couple, and you can't tell who is male or female which is interesting but slightly irritating, though you can just about work it out from the final story. Overall the book is fresh, quirky, amusing, touching in places, and though a bit hit-and-miss I would buy it if only for the stories mentioned above.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. Ali Smith has the purest prose voice I could imagine - she couldn't be less pretentious, and a lot of the time she makes writing well seem incredibly easy - but there is a lot going on here, her seeming transparency doesn't mean anything is that simple. These stories really make you think. Everything they look at becomes real. Everyday activities we more or less ignore are described with enough love that their peculiarity - which is sometimes funny, sometimes disturbing, sometimes both - becomes apparent. I thought _Hotel World_ was a little gimmicky compared to her previous short stories and novel; this book is a return to form and, I suspect, to what she really wanted to do in the first place. And if reading and liking _Hotel World_ encourages people to read these, it's well worth it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Matthews on 18 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Ali Smith is the best writer I have ever come across. She is like no other.
The Whole Story and Other Stories is a great collection of stories. In particular "Believe Me" is absolutely stunning. I'm yet to read anything by Ali Smith that I haven't loved.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By aceadrian on 23 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is perfect for some people, but terrible for others! Its a set of short stories dealing with love, not always love of a person, sometimes love of a creature, a tree, and inanimate object, a situation. Even love of nothing in particular, sometimes its not clear what its about, but there's something in each story waiting to be found. Its a very easy to read book, you can turn the pages quickly and you certainly don't have to concentrate too hard to get into it, that probably makes it perfect for train journeys and the like.
The stories are very different and very personal, almost seeming like small snapshots of peoples lives, like looking through a photo album with pictures of different families inside, they talk about the way people live their lives and the relationships they have with each other, be that love or dependency. In fact the stories don't all have a point to them at all, they don't start and finish like a novel, but that adds to the enjoyment, like you are skipping into and out of each of the worlds that Smith creates.
Most of the stories have a little twist, certainly a little humour and each certainly brings some degree of a connection, a reality, you could imagine the people walking past you everyday could be the people in the book.
Pointless, yet real, enjoyable and fun. I liked them and im thinking of buying something else by Smith.
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