Ali Smith — How to be Both
Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith’s novels are like nothing else.
This is Smith’s first venture into historical fiction and you can bet it won’t be like any other historical novels you’ve read. Clues about its contents are tantalisingly oblique. Suffice to say it adopts a double timeframe, with one strand tethered to the the Renaissance art world of the 1460s and the other wrapped around a “child of a child of the 1960s”. We’re promised a tale that borrows from painting’s fresco technique, to bend time, genre and medium – Smith is such an artful novelist that we would expect nothing less. This year, she’s the only British woman on the Booker longlist.