I’ve recently finished reading, in quick succession, The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington (introduction by Ali Smith) and There But For The by Ali Smith herself. I found Carrington’s novel charming and surprising, wonderfully anarchic, but with a dark subtext about humanity’s exploitative and destructive relationship with mother earth. There are elements that reminded me of Tove Jansson‘s fiction – the refreshing and unsentimental portrayal of old women; writing from the viewpoint of the marginalised and disregarded; the fellow feeling for animals and nature more broadly; and the intrusion of the absurd into everyday life. These are aspects of Ali Smith’s writing, too, manifested in her latest novel, which I devoured in chunks late evenings and Sunday mornings over the last couple of weeks. I also love Smith’s infectious wordplay and her deft rendering of the twists and turns of her narrators’ thought processes. And then, there’s her generosity in championing the work of overlooked writers such as Carrington and Jansson – one more reason I’m a big Ali Smith fan.