Ex Libris Kirkland

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First Written 2014
Genre Fiction
Origin US
Publisher Anchor
ISBN-10 0307275256
My Copy library copy
First Read September 15, 2021

How to be Both

A contemporary lit fic work that's clearly GOOD; Smith is a great writer and has a ton of technical prowess here. It's a semi-intertwined pair of tales: a modern teen student, and 15th cent young adult painter. Obviously this is well written, quick-paced and enjoyable, but still left me a little cold. Like... what is this book...for?

Noted on September 19, 2021

OH. Oh. I just looked up some reviews and learned something that really influences that question of 'what is this book FOR, even.' The first half of the book is about George, a grieving modern-day teenager who is processing the sudden loss of her mother, and how that processing involves some frescoes from 15th c Italy. The second half switches abruptly to the fresco's painter - who is half a memory of his life and half a haunting of George's. Fine enough, interesting enough.

BUT, apparently some copies were printed with George's story first, and then the painter's second. But others were printed with the painter's first and THEN George. Which would for sure influence how it was read! I think it does become a very interesting exercise to write a double-faced novel this way, where each influences the other based on the order. Huh.

Noted on September 19, 2021

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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