I come back to the stories in this collection (Ali Smith's first) again and again. If you have not read Ali Smith before you are in for a treat and this is her best book by far. 'To the Cinema' rates as the best short story I have ever read. Ali Smith is the kind of writer who makes you want to shout 'yes, yes, yes you are so right' as you read. Her stories make me laugh and cry, but mostly they just make me smile. If you are a lesbian reader and have not read this - WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN GIRL! If you are not a lesbian reader - DO NOT BE AFRAID, there's plenty there for you too!
Even speed-reading I couldn't finish this. I re-read the rave reviews, went back to be challenged by another few pages but ultimately gave up. A book that drowns in its own self-importance and pretentiousness. I left this in a second hand bookshop in Ho Chi Minh City. And that's probably the most interesting thing I can say about this book.
An eclectic variety of short stories, expertly crafted. from eroticism to obsession. Ali Smith has the ability to provide just enough description of both characters and places, to seed the imagination. Always about relationships juxtaposed or tender and often unexpected, she leaves her readers wanting more.
A brilliant collection of short stories, dealing with themes including lesbian love, bereavement, troubled adolescence and the power of art and film. I particularly enjoyed 'College', in which a young girl whose parents are splitting up mourns the death of her Cambridge-student sister, the story about the artist who meets her former lover after a long absence and realizes the relationship really is over, the account of a lesbian couple holidaying in Greece, 'Cold Iron', in which a woman mourns the death of her mother, 'Free Love' where a young girl visits a female prostitute in Amsterdam and is given a session for free as it's her first time, and the final story, where a woman remembers her crazy French teacher. Every place described by Smith is brought wonderfully to life, and her use of language is breathtaking. And she also makes you really care about her characters. What a treat!