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The First Person and Other Stories

por Ali Smith

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2641299,366 (3.31)24
In these energetic, exhilarating stories, Ali Smith portrays a world of everyday dislocation, where people nevertheless find connection, mystery, and love. In "Astute Fiery Luxurious," a misdelivered package throws the life of a couple into disarray. A boy's unexplained illness in "I Know Something You Don't Know" drives his mother to seek guidance from homeopathic healers, with inconclusive results. In "The Child," an unnervingly mature young boy voices offensive humour that genteel society would rather not acknowledge. And a confident older woman meets her awkward fourteen-year-old self in "Writ" but can't figure out how to guide her--or even whether she should. As Smith explores the subtle links between what we know and what we feel, she creates an exuberant, masterly collection that is packed full of ideas, humour, nuance, and compassion. Ali Smith and the short story are made for each other.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
‘’Williams Carlos Williams says that the short story, which acts like the flare of a match struck in the dark, is the only real form for describing the briefness, the brokenness and the simultaneous wholeness of people’s lives.’’

In twelve stories, one of the finest writers of our times pays a tribute to Love and its various melancholic, aching, tender, ugly faces. People isolate themselves in bitter disappointment while others come together to share a distinctive kind of togetherness in loneliness. An oxymoron? Hardly. After all, Love contains all the antitheses we can think of. Ali Smith shows why the Short Story genre is an art unlike any other.

True Short Story: A tender, quietly humorous story about the very special bond between two friends and a beautiful ode to the nature, the joy and the enchantment of the short story. Those who claim they don’t like short stories would do well to read this gem by Ali Smith…

The Child: A woman finds a child in her trolley. Nobody believes her when she tries to explain that he isn’t hers so she has no choice but to take him with her. And the one-year-old starts throwing every racist joke and insult in perfect English down to the rounded vowels and proper Conservative…attitude.

‘’Have you seen them, covered in all the frost? the man was saying to the barmaid. Don’t they look just like magic roofs, don’t they look like winter always looked when you were a little child?’’

Present: In a pub what starts as a light discussion about the beauty of winter becomes a confession on childhood, the spirits of Christmas Past, neighbours and families. Real or imaginary conversations? It doesn’t matter. The beauty of this story is like snowflakes lit by the faint reflection of Christmas lights and the frosty silence.

The Third Person: This is a story of summer evenings and love and loss. The rest is open to interpretation…

Fidelio and Bess: A ‘’retelling’’ of the musical Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin. I have to admit that I didn’t particularly care for that one…

The History of History: Should we see this story as an example of independence sacrificed on the altar of motherhood or should we feel sorry for the girl who’s practically left motherless because of a whim? And that’s the beauty of the Short Story genre.

No Exit: There is always a strange feeling when you see someone leaving the cinema in the middle of a film. And what about an ‘’Exit’’ that leads nowhere?

The Second Person: Can we really claim that we know the person we have chosen to share - even temporarily - our life with? Can we presume to be able to define them?

I Know Something You Don’t Know: A boy decides to spend every day in bed, unwilling to eat or even move, and his mother resorts to charlatans because Medicine has disappointed her. And yet, the cure is right there when Nature and its miracles decide to come to the rescue.
Writ: How would we feel if we suddenly started to live with the (very vocal…) presence of our 14-year-old self that is constantly judging us and our society?

Astute Fiery Luxurious: A strange, probably misplaced, delivery brings back memories of teenage years and a troubled schoolmate who enjoyed ‘’killing things’’. A mysterious, multi-layered story.

The First Person: An achingly beautiful, haunting ode to Love. And that’s all that matters…

‘’You have peeled the roof off me and turned the whole library into a wood. Every book is a tree. Above the tops of the trees there’s nothing but birds.
How am I supposed to survive this, out here in the wild wood?’’

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jun 8, 2022 |
Another engaging, subversive collection of stories, in which Smith enjoys herself experimenting with different kinds of narrative voices, especially her trademark second-person style, in which the narrator addresses another person (normally a lover/partner) and imagines that person's responses in a fictional conversation. But this device also gets subverted here in one of the stories, where the "You" character answers back and points out how arrogant it is for the "I" character to assume she knows how "You" would act in a fictional setting, turning the tables by imagining how it would work out if the "I" character were put into that setting...

There's a lot of language-play, as we would expect, and Smith also plays around with the whole idea of narrative closure. Stories frequently have multiple narratives going on in them that fail to develop in traditional ways, and which do not always intersect or even have any obvious parallels. Or (as in "Fidelio and Bess"), two well-known stories from another medium get inextricably tangled up with each other... ( )
1 vote thorold | Jan 3, 2018 |
"You’re not the first person who was ever wounded by love. You’re not the first person who ever knocked on my door. You’re not the first person I ever chanced my arm with. You’re not the first person I ever tried to impress with my brilliant performance of not really being impressed with anything. You’re not the first person to make me laugh. You’re not the first person I ever made laugh. You’re not the first person full stop. But you’re the one right now. I’m the one right now."

I read this in May and meant to write up my thoughts on Ali Smith's The First Person a while ago but could not really find a way to start. I had already fangirled (on BookLikes) about two of the stories in this collection (Writ and Fidelio and Bess) and other than using the word "awesome" over and over again, I just could not think of any way to convey my impressions of this collection.

And then, this morning it hit me - what makes this collection of stories special for me is that it is easy to connect with the stories. Not necessarily connect from the point of familiarity of having been in the same situation - anyone who has read The Child will know what I mean - but connect in way that each story describes a state of connection between the main characters and their surroundings - other people, things, memories, etc. Some of the connections relate closeness, some alienation, but all of the stories managed to reach out to me as a reader. In particular, I enjoyed the ones marked (*):

true short story*
the child*
present*
the third person
fidelio and bess*
the history of history*
no exit
the second person
i know something you don’t know
writ*
astute fiery luxurious*
the first person*

So, this is not my first reading of Smith's work. It is not the first time I read a short story collection, nor is it the first one that grips me. It is not the first time an author leaves me wrapped up in the familiar and unfamiliar alike. It is not the first time an author can engage me in words and worlds I can connect with. But Smith right now is one of the few authors to manage to do this.

"It strikes me, as I look at it, that the table is way beyond my control. Up until this moment, I mean, I believed I owned that table. Now, looking at it out in the open air, I know that I don’t. I know for the first time that I maybe don’t own anything."

Review first posted on BookLikes. ( )
1 vote BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
I have no idea what this was all about. I kept on reading hoping something will appear. Complete waste of time ( )
  bergs47 | Apr 1, 2016 |
Ali Smith’s charming playfulness, a kind of flirting with language, lends itself to stories of love — first meetings, sudden realizations, and piquant disagreements. The stories collected here are brief, typically oblique, and have aspects of fable about them. Together they reveal a singular voice. And it is perhaps a strength of the form that it can accommodate such reinvention or rediscovery. Readers steeped in the north american short story may find these tales to be slight. Certainly they are as satisfied with the happy turn of phrase as they are with any painful insight or dramatic sacrifice. Clever, here, is not a pejorative descriptor.

Because the stories are of a piece and each written to an equally well-turned level, there isn’t much to choose amongst them. Any one might be your favourite. I particularly enjoyed, “the history of history,” “the second person,” “writ,” and “the first person.” Smith’s remarkable ability to catch the air of the precocious young teen is put to good effect, especially when she is interrogating her fourteen year old younger self. But even more remarkable, perhaps, is her lightness of touch when enthusing on love’s first flush. Delightful. Full of charms and gently recommended. ( )
1 vote RandyMetcalfe | Aug 25, 2015 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Ali Smith as a novelist, playwright and short-story writer doesn't merely wield -- and call attention to the wielding of -- fictional technique. By conviction and example, she returns the word to its Greek root: Tekhne, an indivisible mixture of art and skill.

adicionada por jburlinson | editarThe Plain Dealer, Karen Long (Jan 21, 2009)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (1 possível)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Ali Smithautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Aceto, FedericaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Alfsen, MereteTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Galindo, Caetano W.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Montijn, HienTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Morawetz, SilviaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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In these energetic, exhilarating stories, Ali Smith portrays a world of everyday dislocation, where people nevertheless find connection, mystery, and love. In "Astute Fiery Luxurious," a misdelivered package throws the life of a couple into disarray. A boy's unexplained illness in "I Know Something You Don't Know" drives his mother to seek guidance from homeopathic healers, with inconclusive results. In "The Child," an unnervingly mature young boy voices offensive humour that genteel society would rather not acknowledge. And a confident older woman meets her awkward fourteen-year-old self in "Writ" but can't figure out how to guide her--or even whether she should. As Smith explores the subtle links between what we know and what we feel, she creates an exuberant, masterly collection that is packed full of ideas, humour, nuance, and compassion. Ali Smith and the short story are made for each other.

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