I just finished reading Ali Smith’s Girl Meets Boy, which is a retelling of the myth of Iphis and wherein the Boy is not (a boy). Part of The Myths Series from Canongate (I’ve only read one other title in this series, Winterson’s Weight about Atlas and Heracles). Wow, that’s a lot of information.

If you’ve read any of my other recommendations you know that I’m a bit of an Ali Smith fan(atic). She’s one of those writers who makes me just shake my head in wonder. She is a bit of a magician. And also a thief. Not in the plagiarist sense (although sometimes that as well). This story (although I hesitate to call anything Ali Smith writes a story) is about two sisters, Anthea and Midge (Imogen is the magic word) Gunn. One of them falls in love with a boygirl grafitti artist/revolutionary. The other is far, far too much like me (works in advertising for the imperialist scum of the earth) for comfort. I think I’ll have to wait another 20 years before I can write about being in advertising. It is the banality of evil…a never-ending, ever-capitalizing, ever-evolving process of soul-devouring hellishness. And it moves so fast with so much importance and cash that you don’t have time to think about the horrorshow you’re producing and feeding and being digested by. How the hell do you write about that? No one would believe how boring and terrifying it is simultaneously. Ali Smith took care of it for me. Also, you should know that she writes True Love (requited and unrequited) in a way that leaves you in a kind of breathless Yes. Without the sugary soundtrack.

“Then I wondered why on earth would anyone ever stand in the world as if standing in the cornucopic middle of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon but inside a tiny white-painted rectangle about the size of a single space in a car park, refusing to come out of it, and all round her or him the whole world, beautiful, various, waiting?”

Anyway, this is a very quick read with much more of an actual story than I’ve come to expect from Smith. Her prose is as spare and quick and lovely as ever, even pared down (impossibly) more to the grammarless, verbless breaks of tag lines and copy. These are advertising Creatives (after all :). Hmmm, spellcheck doesn’t like creative to be a noun. Or plural. Or a verb. When I worked in advertising, I had the tech geeks find a way to turn off spellcheck (it was not easy, Microsoft wants everyone to spell alike). I couldn’t stand all of those red lines yelling at me. Every. Other. Word. (Like that!). I imagine Ali Smith has had to find a way to turn it off as well.

[semi-SPOILERy] This also has the happiest Ali Smith ending you’ll ever read. Which it should. Haven’t there been enough tragic stories of girl meets girl, boy meets boy, girlboy meets girlboy? Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s the only story (the tragic one)…besides this story.