There’s art–lots of art–in Ali Smith’s 2014 novel How to be Both. The novel, itself, is a work of art: it’s ambiguous, clever, funny, sad, truthful, and challenging.
Here are a few quotes from How to be Both to, possibly, entice you to read it:
I think of all the sketches and dessins and paintings on panels and linens and crack-covered wall, all the colours and the willows and the hares and the goats and the sheep and the hoofs, all the eggs cracked open: ash, bones, dust, gone, and hundreds and hundreds, no, thousands.
Cause that’s all the life of a painter is, the seen and gone disappearing into the air, rain, seasons, years, the ravenous beaks of ravens. All we are is eyes looking for the unbroken or the edges where the broken bits might fit each other.
But imagine if you made something and then you always had to be seen through what you’d made, as if the thing you’d made became you.
Galleries are not much like life. They are such clean places, generally.
(Egg on poplar. Like something made in a chic restaurant. What would it taste like? Think of all the paintings made with all the eggs laid all the hundreds of years ago and the blips of life that were the lives of the warmblooded chickens who laid them.)
Honor Clerk’s review in The Spectator is titled “Warm, funny, subtle, intelligent–and baffling.” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.