after i read girl meets boy i realized it was a lot more like what i had expected eugenides' middlesex to be than middlesex actually was. i will definitely read this again, perhaps when more in the mood for a love story, and i'm interested in reading more of ali smith's work.
it is a book that plays out at a break-neck pace, except for the moments where the language is allowed to meander into scenes of poetry and gives one pause in the midst of beauty. there is much to love in ali smith's finesse with language. this novel contains retellings but i don't think this novel is so much a retelling of the myth of iphis, even though that's how it was positioned as part of "the myths series" published by canongate books, but rather it uses that story as the fulcrum on which it turns. there are very interesting characters here, and notions about people, and love, and sexuality, and the myths that we tell and retell to ourselves, to each other.
there's not really much in the way of plot but that doesn't much matter because the writing is so engaging, and the book is so short that you don't miss it. i had trouble with some of the pop culture references at the beginning of the novel which made it harder for me to find my bearings: it seemed that if i were british, i would understand some of it better. i didn't know what the generation game was and it wasn't really explained, and the description of blind date confused me because i'd only seen american blind date, and it didn't seem to be anything like british blind date.
ultimately i did find myself wishing that the book wasn't so short, and that the writer had given me a bit more time with some of her characters, especially the grandparents we meet at the beginning of the novel. the book has potentials oozing through its pages, and when it was over, it did feel like there was book wasn't finished, that it was a sketch of a book, that it could say much more.