Books by Ali Smith

Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962. Her first book, Free Love and Other Stories (1995), won the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award and a Scottish Arts Council Award. Her first novel, Like, was published to critical acclaim in 199


SPRING by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 2019

"Smith's work is always challenging and always rewarding."
The third installment of Smith's Seasonal Quartet (Autumn, 2017; Winter, 2018) touches on previous themes of creativity and friendship and delves deeper into current events with a sharp-edged look at the treatment of immigrants. Read full book review >
THE STORY OF ANTIGONE by Ali Smith
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 26, 2019

"Readers are better off with the original because, as the British would say, this rendition is too clever by half. (Fiction. 10-12) "
A literal bird's-eye recounting of the Greek tragedy Antigone in the current era of kids and teens, such as Naomi Wadler and the Parkland High School shooting survivor-activists, leading the movements to speak truth to power. Read full book review >
WINTER  by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 9, 2018

"A sprightly, digressive, intriguing fandango on life and time."
Christmas 2016 is a time of memory and confrontation for two estranged sisters in this second installment of the British author's Seasonal Quartet. Read full book review >
AUTUMN by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 7, 2017

"Smith's book is a kaleidoscope whose suggestive fragments and insights don't easily render a pleasing pattern, yet it's compelling in its emotional and historical freight, its humor, and keen sense of creativity and loss."
A girl's friendship with an older neighbor stands at the center of this multifaceted meditation on aging, art, love, and affection. Read full book review >
PUBLIC LIBRARY AND OTHER STORIES by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"Smith's casual, almost conversational style and structure don't produce conventional short stories, but there's an enticing intellect at work, and the accompanying threnody for lost libraries is sadly complementary."
An engaging collection of stories that explore how people are connected by words, ideas, events, and memories and, not coincidentally, how those connections may be lost when public libraries are closed. Read full book review >
HOW TO BE BOTH by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 2, 2014

"Comical, insightful and clever, Smith (There But for The, 2011, etc.) builds a thoughtful fun house with her many dualities and then risks being obvious in her structural mischief, but it adds perhaps the perfect frame to this marvelous diptych."
This adventurous, entertaining writer offers two distinctive takes on youth, art and death—and even two different editions of the book. Read full book review >
ARTFUL by Ali Smith
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 28, 2013

"A soulful intellectual inquiry and reflection on life and art, artfully done."
Acclaimed Scottish novelist Smith (There but for the, 2011, etc.) considers the places where art and life intersect, sometimes collide and meld. Read full book review >
THERE BUT FOR THE by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2011


Charming and intelligent, Miles Garth is in many ways a desirable guest. And when he accompanies handsome 60-year-old Mark Palmer to Genevieve and Eric Lee's annual "alternative" dinner party in Greenwich, it is assumed Miles is the older man's new lover. He is not, and has in fact just met Mark at a theater performance. Halfway through the meal, Miles heads upstairs ostensibly to use the bathroom, and does not come back down. Sequestered in the Lees' extra room, he offers no explanation but does pass a note requesting vegetarian meals be sent under the door. At a loss over what to do, Genevieve tracks down Anna Hardie, a Scottish woman who met Miles briefly when they were teenagers. As Anna recalls his kindness to her during a school trip, she begins to come to terms with her own past and uncertain future. Miles has that affect on people. Anna also befriends Brooke, a precocious, lonely 9-year-old neighbor girl who met Miles at the party as well. Meanwhile, news of Miles' weird sit-in ripples throughout the community, and people begin to think of him as some kind of folk hero with almost mystical powers. That Miles is both more and less than he appears to be is part of the fun in this witty, deconstructed mystery. With its shifting points of view, Smith (The First Person: and Other Stories, 2009, etc.) displays a virtuoso gift for channeling her character's inner voices. Happily, the book manages to wear its profundity lightly.

Offbeat exploration of the human need to connect with others. Read full book review >
THE FIRST PERSON AND OTHER STORIES by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 6, 2009

"The willed spareness of the stories grows annoying, but at her best Smith is an original observer of the blessings and curses of living inside one's imagination."
A collection of 12 smartly constructed observations of the way we think and write, from Whitbread Award-winning Scottish author Smith (The Accidental, 2006, etc.). Read full book review >
GIRL MEETS BOY by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 8, 2008

"The politics don't especially convince, but the comic, smart, spirited tale-spinning often amuses."
Updating Ovid's myth of Iphis and Ianthe, the noted British author slyly explores a blurring of the sexual divide. Read full book review >
THE ACCIDENTAL by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 10, 2006

"It's not so much about the story as it is about the virtuosity of the telling."
Dazzling wordplay and abundant imagination invigorate a tale of lives interrupted. Read full book review >
THE WHOLE STORY by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 9, 2004

"Clever, stylish, and smooth in prose, but too cool to engage."
A young British author self-consciously seasons stories of love and abandonment with sometimes awkward touches of the gothic, surreal, and mythic. Read full book review >
HOTEL WORLD by Ali Smith
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 15, 2002

"Long riffs on a theme, presented like a puzzle."
A prizewinner back home, Scotland-born Smith (stories: Like, 1998) offers a verbally high-speed tale of a girl's death that may touch some but will seem mainly airy to others. It was shortlisted for the 2001 Orange Prize—as it is now for the Booker. Read full book review >
LIKE by Ali Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1998

In a loosely threaded first novel, Scottish writer Smith luminously evokes the long, dark shadow cast by obsessions born in adolescence. Two young women, Amy Scone and Ash McCarthy, meet as teenagers when Amy's British family spends a summer vacation in Scotland next door to Ash. Eventually, the two will meet up again in Cambridge, where Amy has become a distinguished scholar; but as the story begins, the girls have been separated for many years. How that happened—and when, and why—is never made clear except through scattered hints here and there. At the start, Amy, caretaker for a seaside camping ground in Scotland, is living with eight-year-old Kate in a decrepit caravan. Kate, a clever child whose parentage is suggested but never established, has been put to work deciphering letters and whatnot for Amy, who is herself (unaccountably) no longer able to read and suffers from inexplicable fugue states. Later, just as inexplicably, Amy gradually finds her ability to read returning. She visits her wealthy and accomplished English parents for the first time in years; borrows money to take a trip with Kate to Italy; and, once settled back in Scotland, begins reinventing her life, with her old demons, so it would seem, safely banished. Meanwhile, the diary of 26-year-old Ash, a famous actress, at home in Scotland before heading to the US, is a long narrative riff on her compulsive love for Amy, which has never altered despite various affairs with other women. Trying to make sense of herself, her family, and her never-ending Amy-philia, Ash comes up with unsatisfying similes suggesting, for instance, with a flossy patness, that whatever happens it is always like something else—only, Amy's heart, as she once heard it, was really not like anything else. Lyrical but elliptical writing that ultimately bleeds the pain and passion out. Read full book review >