This is my last update of our How To Be Both read-along and i feel like the week has gone so fast! Me and Sophie been updating you all week on our thoughts and feelings towards Ali Smith’s best seller and it’s almost time for us to wrap up our opinions! If you want to see the posts that we’ve previously written, they are HERE.
On the first day of the read-along, i shared the synopsis of How To Be Both by Ali Smith. If you missed it, here it is again:
How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.
Since i last caught up with you guys on Wednesday, i have to admit that i’ve read very (very) little of the novel. I started to really enjoy George’s point of view and her thought and feelings towards her relationship with her mother and her new best friend/love interest, H. However once that flipped and the style of writing changed again, with a much heavier focus on art as we were now hearing from a painter, i began to quickly lose interest.
I found the style hard to understand and interpret, and i imagine it was written in such a way that people will interpret it differently. However that’s just not my kind of thing when it comes to reading. I do enjoy having a novel fully laid out in front of me.
Sophie made the point yesterday that this book is much more digestible in small amounts. Small bursts of reading it would have probably done both of us better. You live and you learn. I will be finishing this book, i’m over half way through. But the chances i finish it before our read-along end date tomorrow are very slim. As of now i feel like i will just be dipping in to it when i feel like i want to.
The storyline of the novel is incredible, that is hard to dispute. However if you are not a fan of art novels, then i would approach this with some caution.