How To Be Both by Ali Smith

So I got the Eye/Camera version, and I’m probably in the minority of people who found Francesco’s side more compelling than George’s, if only because it felt like a whole arc, unlike George’s half, which just sorta ended. But I’ve never been a fan of the grief narrative, as evidenced by my disdain for the vast majority of autobiographies written by people 40 or under: too much wallowing, not enough art.

Which is something that could never be leveled at Francesco’s half. Art abounds! I loved the imaginative invention of Francesco’s history, even as I’m not entirely sure why B sent this to me. We’d been discussing a boy I know, whose pre-Raphaelite beauty sneaks up on you unexpectedly, prompting her to send me this book. And there are certainly passages that spoke to me of love and reality in ways other books didn’t. One of which I’ll quote to end this review (ironically from George’s half):

You can’t just make stuff up about real people, George says.

We make stuff up about real people all the time, H says. Right now you’re making stuff up about me. And I’m definitely making stuff up about you. You know I am.

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