'How to Be Both' offers two stories with playful cleverness

December 31, 2014 1:11 PM

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Ali Smith is a playful writer, but her sense of fun thrives in unlikely places. It's evident in the language of the terrible death of the young chambermaid in a dumbwaiter in Hotel World ("Woooooooo-hooooooo what a fall what a soar what a plummet what a dash into dark into light what a plunge what a glide thud crash what a drop what a rush what a swoop what a fright what a mad hushed skirl what a smash mush mash-up broke and gashed what a heart in my mouth what an end.")

It's there in the title and subject matter of her last novel, "There but for the," about a man invited to a dinner party who locks himself in a bathroom and refuses to leave, becoming a minor celebrity in the process.

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