• How to Be Both

  • By: Ali Smith
  • Narrated by: John Banks
  • Length: 8 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 04-12-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks
  • 4 out of 5 stars 3.8 (150 ratings)

Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014
Costa Novel Award Winner 2014

How to Be Both is a novel all about art's versatility. There's a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There's the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real - and all life's givens get given a second chance.
©2014 Ali Smith (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Carien on 21-03-15

Dealing with loss

What three words best describe John Banks’s performance?

Good performance

Any additional comments?

This was my first Ali Smith and maybe my last. There were some wonderfully descriptive extracts and the love of art and colour and fascination with how to re-create things were pleasing, as was the relationship between George and her mother followed with the struggle to deal with her loss. It was outside my normal genres and while it had some touching moments, it required by far too much concentration. I want to read for pleasure and relaxation and 'How to be both' did not allow me that, instead leaving me -at the end - with unanswered questions for which I will probably have to re-read the book - which is not likely. Overall probably not worth the straying from what I normally read.

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By P. S. Young on 23-04-15

Don't think this worked as an audio book

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I just don't think the dialogue heavy writing translated well into audio format.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from How to Be Both?

I got half way through and lost the will to go on. The shift to different characters didn't work for me and I lost interest.

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11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Robin on 18-01-15

Annoying

This book did not meet my expectations. It's the first I've read by Ali Smith and was highly recommended, but I was very disappointed. I found the schoolgirl Georgia tedious and of very little interest and all the stuff about present tense and past tense and the death of her mother just annoying. The things presented as insightful - the girl on the porn video - were trite.

The Francesco part of the story was worse. All the gender-bending stuff was pointless.

I thought the whole thing was a waste of time and I was glad when it finished.

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