Ali Smith How to be both

How to be both – Ali Smith

Winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2015

Winner of the Costa Novel of the Year 2014

In the words of Smith the way we read How to be both, ‘… is chance, it is random and then one is stuck with what the random has dealt us’. Choose your own way to read How to be both, with exclusive extracts of both first chapters below.

“All we are is eyes looking for the unbroken or the edges where the broken bits might fit each other.”

Ali Smith, How to be both

Read… Camera. 

Read… Eyes. 

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. If you’ve read ‘How to be Both’ you’ll have been intrigued and enthused by the fresco cycle at the heart of the novel, painted by Francesco da Cossa. They are in the Palazzo Schifanoia in Mantua and the one fascinatingly focused on in the novel depicts the month of March coincidentally. If you’ve been there you’ll remember the refreshing little garden behind the palazzo and it’s tastefully quaint and ramshackle cafe. Well the garden and the cafe are now threatened with demolition and building over. The area around the place is pretty run down and I noticed many empty buildings but no, the plan is to spoil one of the city’s major attractions, and one destined to become more popular as Ali Smith’s book is discovered by more people. Not as guaranteed as it would be if we were talking rubbish by Dan Brown, but still. If this annoys you too I have a petition form I can send you a scan of if you can rustle up the signatures of maybe a dozen art and literature fans and scan and email it back. It’s all being coordinated by Simone Pavia, the artist who also runs the cafe.


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