girl meets boy

I’ve just finished Girl meets boy by Ali Smith, published by Canongate as part of The Myths series. Smith’s book is a retelling of the myth of Iphis in Ovid‘s Metamorphoses – and so much more besides. Set in Inverness in 2007, the novel deals with different kinds of transformations: falling in love; discovering your sexuality; and the more invidious changes wrought by the expansion of global capitalism on workers (both in the more privileged west, and in developing countries) and the environment. That sounds heavy, and there is a lot packed into this shortish book, but it is written with such verve and energy and lightness that it remains engaging, as well as telling a cracking, many-layered story. Funny and inventive, the novel also contains a breathless, breathtakingly vivid account of the transformative power of love, as experienced by the character Anthea, nicely cut through with salty dashes of humour. Myth, gender, politics, poetry – all in 160-odd pages. Phew, as Anthea says, summing up her first night in the arms of her true love.

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