Teresa's Reviews > There But For The

There But For The by Ali Smith
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Dec 15, 11

Read in December, 2011

If you're new to Ali Smith and think you might like her (I can easily see that she's not everyone's 'thing'), read her brilliant short stories, or the novels Hotel World or The Accidental first. I loved those.

And if you have read all of Ali Smith, as I have, I think you will find that this book is merely okay, even tedious near the end, and that maybe instead it could've been another brilliant short story. Because what feels like excessive padding and way too much language-play (esp with the last section belonging to the precocious 9-year old girl, Brooke, though when she's seen from others' viewpoints, she's a great character) ends up not meaning much at all, which is uncharacteristic of Ali Smith's other work.

What I did end up liking (as with the rest of her work) is the way the story ends, the way it folds upon itself, much like the tight, origami-like paper airplane described in the very first section of the book. The ending led me back to this beginning, but, unfortunately, on this revisit I didn't find as much there as I hoped I would.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by ·Karen· (new) - added it

·Karen· This is only number 166 on my to-read shelf(!) Will be interested to hear your valued opinion.


Teresa Karen wrote: "This is only number 166 on my to-read shelf(!) Will be interested to hear your valued opinion."

Ali Smith's one of those writers that I don't mind jumping to the front of the pile. I would've waited till it went to paperback or gotten it from the library, but I was gifted this just the other day by an even bigger Ali Smith fan than I am.


message 3: by ·Karen· (new) - added it

·Karen· That's a good friend to have!


message 4: by Tara (new)

Tara Will take your advice! Happy Holidays, BTW, and thanks for all the support in 2011! And 2010! :-) Best of luck with your own writing in 2012.


message 5: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely I have to read an Ali Smith soon! Thanks, T.


Teresa Tara wrote: "Will take your advice! Happy Holidays, BTW, and thanks for all the support in 2011! And 2010! :-) Best of luck with your own writing in 2012."

The same to you, Tara. And thank you! On all counts!


Teresa K.D. wrote: "I have to read an Ali Smith soon! Thanks, T."

You're welcome, K.D. I think you might like Hotel World.


message 8: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely Yes, I have that book! But I think THE ACCIDENTAL is the one that is in the 1001 books list.


Teresa K.D. wrote: "Yes, I have that book! But I think THE ACCIDENTAL is the one that is in the 1001 books list."

I loved that one too (though a friend whose favorite writer is AS didn't like it as much as I did), but if you don't already own The Accidental, you might want to read Hotel World first to see if you like her style.


message 10: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely Ok, I will, T. Thanks. :)


message 11: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia How disappointing that you didn't like this one :(. I'll have to get Hotel World.


Teresa Cynthia wrote: "How disappointing that you didn't like this one :(. I'll have to get Hotel World."

Yes, there were parts of it I really liked, but I expected to like the whole of it more.


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