Fiction Shire Ali Smith

Published on July 29th, 2013


Shire by Ali Smith

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Blurb: In four short stories – fusions of poetry – Ali Smith pays tribute to the sources, the people and the places which produce and nurture life and art. In an opening up of norths and souths, she traces unexpected conduits between Cambridge and the north of Scotland. Like all of Ali Smith’s work, here spot-lit by Sarah Wood’s delicate art, this is a book that will blow fresh air through the mind and set readers’ pulses racing. (Full Circle Editions)

Other books by the author

Katy Guest, The Independent on Sunday

You will want to read this book at least three times: once in a headlong rush of fandom; then with an internet connection and a dictionary of poetic terms; and finally in a darkened room with the phone switched off and time to savour Smith’s delicious, playful use of language. A truly bewitching collection.

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Tom Adair, The Scotsman 

“The two central stories are the real deal – combining poetry, prose, biography, autobiography, scholarly musing, linguistic juggling and micro-attention to detail. Reading them is like sticking your hand down a sofa. You might prick your finger. You might find gold. They share the key figures of Olive Fraser and Helena Mennie, both Cambridge graduates, both Scots, both devoted to literature … One of the finest things she has written.”

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Arifa Akbar, The Independent

“For new readers, Shire might be a puzzle, open-ended and wavering between genres, but for the initiated, that is entirely the point, and the joy, of Smith’s work.”

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Carl Wilkinson, The Financial Times

“At every turn, the mythic, hybrid quality of the writing and the stories are entwined; elements from each story reach through to the others, pulling together various strands into something far greater than their individual parts … What emerges from the whole is a celebration of writing, writers and their long artistic lineages. In particular, Shire is about female writers … Shire, an inventive, complex, playful yet slight book, allows them not just to walk but to fly.”

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Kate Saunders, The Times

“Smith packs in philosophy, personal memory, literary criticism and tragedy, and in very un-showy fashion, shows off her amazing mastery of words.”

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Emily Rhodes, The Spectator

“Pastoral elegy is not what you expect to find in a collection of short stories, but then Ali Smith is a wonderfully unexpected writer.”

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