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There but for the de Ali Smith
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There but for the (2011 original; edició 2012)

de Ali Smith

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
8837518,182 (3.53)2 / 286
At a dinner party in the posh London suburb of Greenwich, Miles Garth suddenly leaves the table midway through the meal, locks himself in an upstairs room, and refuses to leave. An eclectic group of neighbors and friends slowly gathers around the house, and Miles' story is told from the points of view of four of them: Anna, a woman in her forties; Mark, a man in his sixties; May, a woman in her eighties; and a ten-year-old named Brooke. The thing is, none of these people knows Miles more than slightly. How much is it possible for us to know about a stranger? And what are the consequences of even the most casual, fleeting moments we share every day with one another?… (més)
Membre:Helenliz
Títol:There but for the
Autors:Ali Smith
Informació:London : Hamish Hamilton, 2012.
Col·leccions:Llegit, però no el tinc
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Read, 2021

Detalls de l'obra

There But For The de Ali Smith (2011)

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Anglès (70)  Neerlandès (3)  Italià (1)  Finès (1)  Totes les llengües (75)
Es mostren 1-5 de 75 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This starts with a dinner party and a man shutting himself in the spare bedroom. The 4 different chapters are then told from the persepctive of 4 different people who knew Miles, over the course of his life. They knew him as a teenager, most recently and they met hiom at the dinner party. They all reveal something about him, but not why he shut himself up in someone else's spare bedroom. In once sense it is a fascinating story, each person giving a different perspective of Miles and who he might be. The third is the most revealing in this regard. The story I want to read is the one that Miles gives Brooke and she pastes into the history she writes...
  Helenliz | Jun 16, 2021 |
For some reason I just couldn't get into this one. Maybe it was just not a good before-bed-reading book, I don't know. But it never quite held my attention. I'll give it another try sometime. Smith's delightful wordplay normally draws me right into her narratives, so I'm not sure what it was about this one that failed to grab me. ( )
1 vota JBD1 | May 12, 2021 |
An odd book, with an interesting premise. A man (a friend of a friend) goes to a dinner party and locks himself in a bedroom and appears to have no intention of ever leaving.

Might have ended up completely unsatisfied with the book if it was not for all the clever word play. I am a sucker for that and was tempted to give the book 4 stars because of it. ( )
  curious_squid | Apr 5, 2021 |
The plot of this book is summed up from the first paragraph: "There once was a man who, one night between the main course and the sweet at a dinner party, went upstairs and locked himself in one of the bedrooms of the house of the people who were giving the dinner party." Miles locked himself and refused to communicate with others, only exchanging a couple of handwritten letters from the door gap. As the months passed, he became what today would be "an internet sensation" that his little bit of action mattered so much to people (or netizens) in the neighborhood.

This is my first Ali Smith book, and I already love her writing so much. She plays with form, pun, structure, and language in a way that requires you to read actively with full attention. I need more of this type of book that will improve my declining attention span. The book is divided into four sections, each revealing central characters who have vaguely known Miles in the past. We only get to identify Miles from these characters' inner monologues, jumping from time to time. And Smith wrote both main and side characters very distinct and authentic. One of my favorite parts is the conversation between dinner guests in the evening when Miles goes missing.

I won't say anything more, afraid to spoil something significant. The book expands the notion of how words can be used both to communicate and baffle the readers. It also raises the idea that 21st-century life "promises everything but everything isn't there," but only renders "a whole new way of feeling lonely." This one will make you think a lot and deserves a re-read to discover something new. ( )
  bellacrl | Jan 19, 2021 |
A bit of the absurd, as in Waiting for Godot. A man locks himself in his dinner party host's spare room and won't come out. First we learn about him through memories of someone who knew him 20 years ago, but mostly we learn about her current life and teen experience. Then through the eyes of the friend who brought him to the party in the first place. Third is an old lady who is very loosely but annually connected to him. Her Hersection of the story is funny and interesting. Finally the neighbour girl narrates with her wisdom and insight and endless facts.
I think there is potential here for a four act play with prologue and epilogue. The story is not always easy to follow, but I stuck with it and caught on eventually.
The title sticks is intriguing but is impossible to search online because they are all helper words of the sort search engines ignore. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Nov 22, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 75 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This lively, moving narrative is filled with such details, with historical and musical lore and, above all, with puns. All the likable characters in “There but for the” enjoy a good verbal game, most happily with someone else. It is as though playing with language is what enables them to make their way through a complicated world. It’s a knack that might also be picked up, most enjoyably, by reading Ali Smith.
 
This is why I … hmm … ruminate. In dragging out this tedious, dated conversation – our only insight into Miles’s actions – is Smith trying to make the reader feel what Miles felt? Is it satire? Are the other guests merely symbolic of the world’s evils? Smith is a deeply moral writer who can’t always resist moralizing, but the truth is the job of revealing truth is better done with rounded, surprising characters, such as Michael Smart in The Accidental – the student-bonking professor who teaches a seminar on cliché – and not these wearying stereotypes.

But everything else I expect from Ali Smith, and love, is here: the helium quality of her prose, its playful grab-bagginess (it includes a pair of cryptic stories separate from the main narrative, as well as instructions from the author to the typesetters), how she manages to write so lightly about subjects that are by no means trivial – time, memory, history and their relationship to language. And also what perhaps sums up her whole oeuvre, from her novels to her many collections of highly inventive short stories, the long answer to this short question: “What’s the point of human beings? I mean, what are we for?”
 
In her new novel, There but for the, Ali Smith deploys the conceit to satirise contemporary culture – and to ask difficult questions about history, time, epistemology and narrative. The result is a playfully serious, or seriously playful, novel full of wit and pleasure, with some premeditated frustrations thrown in for good measure.
 
Symbol alert! Ali Smith’s new novel opens with a perplexing prologue: a story within a story about a man on an exercise bike whose eyes and mouth are covered by what look like mailbox flaps....The plot borrows a device Ms. Smith, a Scottish author who has been shortlisted for both the Orange and Booker prizes, used in an earlier novel, “The Accidental,” in which a stranger invites herself along on a family’s summer vacation...Yet there is a thematic point to all this showing off, or to most of it, anyway. “There but for the” is ultimately a book about loss and retention: about what we forget and what we remember, about the people who pass through our lives and what bits of them cling to our consciousness.
 

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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Smith, Aliautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Brenøe, NinnaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals.
George Orwell

For only he who lives his life as a mystery is truly alive.
Stephen Zweig

I hate mystery.
Kathryn Mansfield

Of longitudes, what other way have we,
But to mark when and where the dark eclispes be?
John Donne

Every wink of an eye some new grace will be born.
William Shakespeare
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for Jackie Kay
for Sarah Pickstone
for Sarah Wood
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The fact is, imagine a man sitting on an exercise bike in a spare room.
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

At a dinner party in the posh London suburb of Greenwich, Miles Garth suddenly leaves the table midway through the meal, locks himself in an upstairs room, and refuses to leave. An eclectic group of neighbors and friends slowly gathers around the house, and Miles' story is told from the points of view of four of them: Anna, a woman in her forties; Mark, a man in his sixties; May, a woman in her eighties; and a ten-year-old named Brooke. The thing is, none of these people knows Miles more than slightly. How much is it possible for us to know about a stranger? And what are the consequences of even the most casual, fleeting moments we share every day with one another?

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Mitjana: (3.53)
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