The First Person and Other Stories
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First edition with quote from Jackie Kay
|Cover artist||William Eggleston (photographer)|
|Publisher||Hamish Hamilton (UK)
|2008 (UK), 2009 (US)|
|Media type||Print & eBook|
The First Person and Other Stories is a short story collection by Scottish Booker-shortlisted author Ali Smith, first published in 2008.
It contains 12 stories :-
- "True Short Story" A discussion between two men in a cafe discussing the relative merits of novels and short stories is overheard. The narrator (named Ali) rings a friend and continues the argument quoting the views of various authors and the story of Echo and Narcissus from Greek mythology.
- "The Child" (online text) A beautiful baby appears in the narrators shopping trolley; seemingly innocent it turns out to be a foul-mouthed misogynist.
- "Present" (online text from The Times 24 Dec 2005) A disjointed conversation between a barmaid, a man at the bar and the narrator
- "The Third Person" which describes differing 'beguiling scenarios' for a relationship
- "Fidelio and Bess" Beethoven's opera Fidelio and George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess are blended together to describe an apparently doomed love affair between two women
- "The History of History" (online text) in which a schoolgirl struggles to do her history homework while her mother has a nervous breakdown
- "No Exit" The narrator watches a woman leave a cinema auditorium via the fire escape and become apparently trapped in the stairwell
- "The Second Person" Two lovers disagree after describing each other's personalities with made-up short stories, one concerning the purchase of an accordion, the other the delivery of a pretentious discourse on Ella Fitzgerald's rendition of "A-Tisket, A-Tasket"
- "I Know Something You Don't Know" A boy's mysterious illness causes his mother to ring two healers from the Yellow Pages
- "Writ" A middle-aged woman meets her fourteen-year-old self and struggles to communicate with her
- "Astute Fiery Luxurious" (online text from The Guardian) A suspect package arrives at a couples house and a series of multiple endings describe its disposal
- "The First Person" In which two lovers claim each is describing the other's reality.
- Reviewed by Katy Guest in The Independent
- A brilliant collection of stories from magical Ali review from The Independent
- Unhappy Together review from The New York Times
- An ear for speech review from The Guardian
- Are your books good in bed? review from The Guardian
- Claudia FitzHerbert is enchanted by a set of slippery stories in which language is always ready to lead you astray review from The Telegraph
- The Sunday Times review