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LITERATURE AND ART » Contemporary Foreign Authors

Girl Meets Boy

Smith Ali

Translator: Saratsioti Mary

Pages: 184
Shape: 14 x 21
ISBN: 978-960-6863-52-3
Price: 12.70 €

::. Literary Romance
::. Political Fiction

Published: April 2010
 
I was a she was a he was a we were a girl and a girl and a boy and a boy...

Updating Ovid's myth of Iphis and Ianthe, the noted British author slyly explores a blurring of the sexual divide. Novelist and short-story writer Smith (The Accidental, 2006, etc.) makes her contribution to a series of modernized myths via a brief narrative that limits the impact of her multiple themes. But there's still plenty of her customary stylistic and intellectual playfulness, as well as some bravura passages, in this story of sisters Imogen and Anthea Gunn, one in thrall to the Pure company that is busily packaging Scottish water—"the perfect commodity"—and the other in love with Robin Goodman, the graffiti artist she meets defacing Pure's company sign, leaving the signature IPHISOL. Robin is a girl, as was Iphis, the Cretan teenager who passed as a boy, fell in love with Ianthe, became betrothed to her but panicked over the question of satisfying her sexually after the wedding. Iphis's prayer to the gods was answered: She was changed into a male. Girl thus met boy in a whole new way, as Smith underlines in a sexual riff—"I was a she was a he was a we"—that further mingles gender boundaries. For the other sister, boy (Paul, a colleague) meets girl (Imogen) after a trip which has revealed Pure's not-so-spotless ambitions for global domination. Paul first shows Imogen some new, bold, feminist graffiti, then takes her to bed. There's an appropriately happy ending: "Reader, I married him/her."The politics don't especially convince, but the comic, smart, spirited tale-spinning often amuses.

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“It is clever, complex and thrilling . . . Girl Meets Boy delights because it refuses to stop at a single metamorphosis; despite its compactness, its stories multiply and rebound exuberantly, its echoes calling to one another across the pages.”
The Times Literary Supplement (TLS)

“By the time I finished the book, my heart was beating and tears stood in my eyes, even as I had the biggest smile written all over my face.”
The Observer

“[A] witty, profound, humane paean to passionate love. . . . Highly original, audacious and lyrical, she has become a special writer.”
The Sunday Herald

“The great thing about stories is that they can build their own walls and then let us walk right through them. Girl Meets Boy is a joyful celebration of life in all its strange shapes, on all sides of the wall.”
Jeanette Winterson, The Times
 
 
You may find extensive excerpts from reviews on the novel at the Readers Guide.
 
 
 

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