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Sunday, 5 August 2018

#GirlMeetsBoy by Ali Smith @canongatebooks

About Girl Meets Boy

Girl meets boy. It's a story as old as time. But what happens when an old story meets a brand new set of circumstances? Ali Smith's re-mix of Ovid's most joyful metamorphosis is a story about the kind of fluidity that can't be bottled and sold. It is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations. Funny and fresh, poetic and political, here is a tale of change for the modern world.

My review of Girl Meets Boy

I am fairly new to the world of Ali Smith. I quickly devoured both Autumn and Winter, and loved them both. Her writing style is engaging, beautiful and unlike anything I have ever read. I need to go back and read her previous work. So, when I learned that Girl Meets Boy was being reprinted as part of the Cannons series  by Canongate I just knew that I had to read it. And, I loved it.

Girl Meets Boy as the blurb states takes inspiration from Ovid's metamorphosis, of which I have read a few of the poems. This novella takes inspiration from the mythical characters of Iphis and Ianthe. Iphis was born a girl, but her father wanted a boy. So, she is raised as a boy. She falls in love with Ianthe, a beautiful girl, but of course she knows that she won't be able to keep her secret, and so asks the gods for help. They turn her into a boy and they marry. Although the book is based on this myth, you could quite happily read the story not know anything about this myth, but it does help to shed light  on the writing.

Set in Scotland, we are introduced to two sisters, Imogen and Anthea. Imogen is the sensible sister who works for a water company in the advertising department. Anthea is the younger and troubled sister who is carefree and outspoken and such a breath of fresh  air. Throughout the story we follow their relationship and how it changes. 

This book is about sisters and the importance of family. It's also about  gender fluidity, and Ali Smith does this so well, that I didn't question once what I was reading. In the fact that their grandfather used to tell them tales of when he was a girl. 

There  of course is the iphis and Ianthe love story, that is between Anthea and a young woman who is a campaigner for women's rights and equality. She gets her message across through the form of graffiti. I loved this character so much.

This book is about women, it's about boys. It's about girls who want to be boys, girls who love girls and boys who ridicule those men who are different to them. It's a book which is richly relevant to this modern world, when we all need to accept difference and that love really is all that matters. 

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley forthe digital copy. 

Girl Meets Boy (The cannons) was published by Canongate on 2nd August.

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