Also in the 2014 Bookers’ series :
So far, How to be both by Ali Smith is my favorite among the longlisted books for 2014’s Bookers prize for fiction. Although the jury has already selected the Narrow Road to Deep North as the winner, but Ali Smith’s latest out-classes it in my books.
It is not an ordinary book, actually it is not a single book. It is 2 books in 1 and demands 2 kinds of readers. One story that is about the Renaissance artist and another story is set in the present time. One part sounds like the fiction based on art history of 15th century and another sounds like a Young-Adult book. And there it raises the important question to the readers, Can we be both ? This book is all about “both” and there are many kinds of both, sometimes inside the story, sometimes outside the story, sometimes just making a point and sometimes pointing out too loud. It is sometimes too simple and sometimes too complicated. Sometimes it looks like laborious read and suddenly it becomes a page tuner.
Another interesting fact about the book is that it is intentionally printed in two different versions. One version has the “Eye” story first, followed by camera and another version has vice-versa. This was an experiment to see the reaction of the readers depending on the version they read.
My Favorite quote from the book: “How to be both—to be made & unmade both,exist in the past and the present, perceive more,create more,love more,live more– be more”
I gave Ali Smith’s How to be both, 4 out of 5 stars on the goodreads. She did well with both the characters, George and Franchescho. Both stories had a heart of their own, and I recommend this book to everyone who wants to be both.