Artful by Ali Smith

84%

10 Critic Reviews

To revisit and refurbish the universality of the subjective self now, of all times, might appear maddeningly unproductive to some readers. To others, however, this redressing of modernist principles will be viewed as...exceptionally pertinent.
-Toronto Star

Synopsis

“A stimulating combination of literary criticism, essay, and fiction” (The New Yorker) from the incomparable Ali Smith

Artful is a celebration of literature’s worth in and to the world—it is about the things art can do, the things art is made of, and the quicksilver nature of all artfulness. A magical hybrid that refuses to be tied down to either fiction or the essay form, Artful is narrated by a character who is haunted—literally—by a former lover, the writer of a series of lectures about art and literature. Ali Smith’s heady powers as a novelist and short story writer harmonize with her keen perceptions as a reader and critic to form a living thing that reminds us that life and art are never separate.
 

About Ali Smith

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ALI SMITH is the author of eight previous works of fiction, including the novel Hotel World, which was short-listed for both the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award, and The Accidental, which won the Whitbread Award and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. Her story collections include Free Love, which won a Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award and a Scottish Arts Council Award, and The Whole Story and Other Stories. Born in Inverness, Scotland, Smith lives in Cambridge, England.
 
Published January 24, 2013 by Penguin Books. 252 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Arts & Photography, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Artful
All: 10 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Leah Hager Cohen on Feb 01 2013

A wordsmith to the very smithy of her soul, she is at once deeply playful and deeply serious.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Jan 22 2013

It’s a book with unusual nooks and crannies, a book that pulses with minor-chord heartache...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Victoria Segal on Nov 08 2013

It might seem as dizzyingly quick and fleet-footed as a Victorian cutpurse, but Arftful gives so much back – with interest – that full concentration is a small price to pay.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Julie Myerson on Nov 17 2012

Four essays weave together into one deeply original story of love and loss that illustrates the power of inspiration.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by John Wilwol on Jan 24 2013

...Artful's love story gives it flesh and blood. The narrator tenderly recalls how living with her lover was like "living in a poem or a picture, a story, a piece of music"...

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe on Jan 24 2013

Like the rest of this book, this poem is in turns witty, familiar, vague, surprising in its structure and grace, atonal, juxtaposed, forced, willfully oblique, literate, silly, and wise.

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Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Dimitri Nasrallah on Feb 01 2013

To revisit and refurbish the universality of the subjective self now, of all times, might appear maddeningly unproductive to some readers. To others, however, this redressing of modernist principles will be viewed as...exceptionally pertinent.

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AV Club

Above average
Reviewed by Phil Dyess-Nugent on Feb 04 2013

Artful is half-baked, but traces of a sensibility that’s rich and fully shaped do leak through the cracks.

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National Post arts

Excellent
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on Jan 31 2013

Smith is...an insightful, nuanced reader of poetry, and the book’s copious, well-curated quotations from Ovid to Wallace Stevens to Jackie Kay will inspire many readers to revisit (or visit) the form.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on Feb 01 2013

In this sense, Artful does what J. M. Coetzee’s similarly genre-bending 2003 novel Elizabeth Costello...does, only in reverse. This could be called disingenuous or genius, but it’s exploited with strategic and aesthetic panache.

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Reader Rating for Artful
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 18 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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