The First Person and Other Stories

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The First Person and Other Stories
First edition with quote from Jackie Kay
Author Ali Smith
Cover artist William Eggleston (photographer)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Hamish Hamilton (UK)
Pantheon (US)
Publication date
2008 (UK), 2009 (US)
Media type Print & eBook
Pages 224
ISBN 0-241-14426-4

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 :-

  1. "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.
  2. "The Child" (online text) A beautiful baby appears in the narrators shopping trolley; seemingly innocent it turns out to be a foul-mouthed misogynist.
  3. "Present" (online text from The Times 24 Dec 2005) A disjointed conversation between a barmaid, a man at the bar and the narrator
  4. "The Third Person" which describes differing 'beguiling scenarios' for a relationship[1]
  5. "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[2]
  6. "The History of History" (online text) in which a schoolgirl struggles to do her history homework while her mother has a nervous breakdown
  7. "No Exit" The narrator watches a woman leave a cinema auditorium via the fire escape and become apparently trapped in the stairwell
  8. "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"
  9. "I Know Something You Don't Know" A boy's mysterious illness causes his mother to ring two healers from the Yellow Pages
  10. "Writ" A middle-aged woman meets her fourteen-year-old self and struggles to communicate with her
  11. "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
  12. "The First Person" In which two lovers claim each is describing the other's reality.[3]


External links[edit]