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on 28 January 2015
I feel like I must have missed something with this book. For all the reviews proclaiming it a genius retelling, an avant-garde novel and a tour de force of storytelling, I found it to be merely an exercise in pretty prose writing and dialogue.

Don't get me wrong - this is a beautifully written book. There were quotes in this book that I've highlighted; there are pages that I've folded at the corners so I can find them again when I want to read a wonderful line. But that's all they are, and that's perhaps why they stood out so starkly; they're just beautiful lines in an otherwise rather empty narrative.

In terms of character, I had to struggle very hard to see any. Despite the fact that the narrative is told from more than one viewpoint, both narrative voices sounded exactly the same, with the only discernible difference being that Midge tended to think in almost staccato parentheses whereas Anthea's thoughts were more fluid. Both characters seemed to be almost interchangeable, and as for the character of Robin - well, she was really more of an archetype than anything else. An enjoyable archetype, yes, but an archetype nonetheless.

I also thought that the plot was poorly paced and jumped from one narrative event to the next with little to no context, meaning that the actual significance or indeed relevance of certain plot points was totally lost. It's a shame, because the actual plot itself was interesting, although slightly thin. I think that Smith could have done with an extra 50 or so pages to flesh things out a bit more. Bare bones are fine if there's a reason that they're skeletal. In contrast, the ending of the book dragged so terribly that it was a real chore to finish. The last seven or so pages could really have been condensed into one simple paragraph; the only casualty would have been some stunning poetic language, which this book doesn't lack anyway. I think a harsher editor might have been useful in this case.

I didn't hate the book. I want to make that clear. I'll certainly reread it in the future. I just wish that there was more to it behind the lovely prose and the deft wordplay, because on first reading, it seemed like a rather hollow narrative.
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on 5 February 2017
arrived in perfect condition
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on 24 April 2014
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. I couldn't stop reading as I wanted to see where she would take Anthea and Robin's love story. Smith has handled a delicate subject with care.
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on 14 March 2016
Be aware that this is a very short book! So, you don't get too many pages for your money but you do get some great writing and an interesting take on an old tale. There's the usual 'Ali Smith' magical feel to it all and a happy ending. I do love a happy ending!
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on 9 February 2018
For my daughters studies was adequate
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on 6 October 2013
an amazing book, really cheap and in great quality. I highly recommend it if you've never read Ali Smith before.
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on 22 December 2015
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on 25 October 2013
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. The subject matter is definitely food for thought and the book ties in very well with my studies.
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on 2 September 2015
stains and fingerprints on cover
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on 14 December 2017
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