There But For The

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There But For The
ThereButForThe.jpg
First edition
Author Ali Smith
Cover artist Rachel Whiteread
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Hamish Hamilton (UK)
Pantheon (US)
Publication date
June 2011 (UK)
Sep 2011 (US)
Media type Print
Pages 357
ISBN 0-241-14340-7

There But For The is a 2011 novel by Scottish author Ali Smith, first published in the UK by Hamish Hamilton and in the US by Pantheon,[1] and set in 2009 and 2010 in Greenwich, London. It was cited by both The Guardian book review and the Publishers Weekly as one of the best books of the year.[2][3] and was also longlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction.[4]

Plot introduction[edit]

The story revolves around Miles Garth, who at a dinner party goes upstairs, locks himself in the spare bedroom and refuses to leave indefinitely. He goes on to become a minor celebrity with crowds gathering outside to try and catch a glimpse of him at the window; and merchandize being produced with his name.

The book is divided into four main narrative parts:

  • There : Tells of Anna Hardie, a social worker who knew Miles some thirty years previously, but the hosts of the party find her email address on Garth's phone and they contact her in the hope that she can persuade Miles to leave. Anna recalls her contact with Miles when in 1980 as a 17-year-old she and Miles travelled together on a coach tour of Europe as winners in a short-story competition.
  • But : In which Mark, a gay photo-researcher who invited Miles to the party mourns an old lover and hears his dead mother speaking to him in rhymes.
  • For : Is set in the head of May Young, an elderly lady in a care home suffering from dementia, who has annual contact with Miles.
  • The : Revolves around Brooke, the daughter of two of the guests of the party—and the only person to have contact with Miles since his self-inflicted imprisonment.

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