There but for the

There but for the

by Ali Smith
2.6 9

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There but for the by Ali Smith

From the award-winning author of Hotel World and The Accidental, a dazzling, funny, and wonderfully exhilarating new novel.
At a dinner party in the posh London suburb of Greenwich, Miles Garth suddenly leaves the table and locks himself in an upstairs room, communicating only through notes slipped under the door to his involuntary hosts, the Lee family. In an act of desperation, Genevieve Lee summons Anna, a woman Miles knew briefly as a teenager, in the hope that she might be able to lure him out. Anna quickly finds herself thrust into the chaotic and surreal world of the Lees: their precocious nine-year-old neighbor, Brooke; their dinner guest Mark; and May, an elderly woman living nearby. Though each of these characters knows Miles only slightly, his self-imposed isolation will serve as the central event linking them to one another and to their own pasts.

Brilliantly audacious, disarmingly playful, full of Smith’s trademark wit and puns, There But For The is a deft exploration of the human need for separation—from our pasts and from one another—and the redemptive possibilities for connections. It is a tour de force by one of our finest writers.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307379986
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/13/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,199,700
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

ALI SMITH is the author of eight previous works of fiction, including the novel Hotel World, which was short-listed for both the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award, and The Accidental, which won the Whitbread Award and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. Her story collections include Free Love, which won a Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award and a Scottish Arts Council Award, and The Whole Story and Other Stories. Born in Inverness, Scotland, Smith lives in Cambridge, England.

From the Hardcover edition.

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There But For The 2.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worst. Book. Ever. I wish I could have the time back that I spent reading this book! My book club chose this book on the strength of the "Entertainment Weekly" review which described it as the kind of book you wanted to read all over again right after finishing it. Actually, it's the kind of book that I wanted to throw across the room, or bestow upon someone I didn't like very much. It's that bad. I feel so duped by that good EW review! I wish I could un-read the review AND the book. Don't waste your time!
jjogger More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable book, better if you can read it and talk about it with someone else. The characters were quirky/interesting/recognizable/surprising; well-crafted. The stream of consciousness in the final chapters was lost on me, it neither furthered nor deepened my understanding of the youngest main character or the plot or the subtext.
My2CentsIL More than 1 year ago
I hated this book more than I can possibly explain. The style of writing made it very difficult to read, the 63 pages I managed were ones that I had to force down like slimy vegetables. Save your money and your time and move on to a better book.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In Greenwich, England, charming Miles Garth, a guest at a dinner party hosted by Gen and Eric Lee, rises from the table in between the main course and dessert. He goes upstairs and locks himself in a spare bedroom. In spite of coaxing from the bewildered hosts and other confused guests, Miles refuses to leave the room and only responds by notes he delivers under the door. Rather quickly a crowd surrounds the house curious in a macabre way to observe what Milo, as the watchers have named him, does next. Fortyish Anna Hardie knew Miles when they met as teens in 1980 during a European Grand Tour. Homosexual sexagenarian Mark Palmer, whose late mom speaks to him in verse, met Miles at a Shakespearean event and invited him to this gala. Octogenarian dementia sufferer May Young, who Miles helped with her grieving of her late daughter, tries to return his kindness. Finally tweener Brooke the attention deficit student disliked by her peers does not know him at all as they just met at dinner. As weeks pass, these five and others forge a family of sorts. There But For The is a fascinating parable that takes a close look at time, which never stops. The four players intermingling with the legendary squatter represent different eras in the lives of people as does the location. Filled with metaphors and quirky characters, Ali Smith provides a profound tale of mortality as the Steve Miller band said: "Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' Into the future." Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She is a selfish sort who likes to think she is a book reviewer...and ruins books for the rest of us.