Book of the week

How To Be Both by Ali Smith. Photo: PA Photo/Hamish Hamilton
How To Be Both by Ali Smith. Photo: PA Photo/Hamish Hamilton

How To Be Both by Ali Smith

Ali Smith, author of acclaimed novels The Accidental and Hotel World, loves to use unconventional forms.

How To Be Both begins as a poem, changes to standard paragraphs, then goes back to a poem; it is anything but an ordinary read. The book is split into two sections; one following the spirit of the Renaissance painter Francesco del Cossa, and the other focusing on troubled teenager George.

This looks set to become her most talked-about novel yet; book clubs, literary academics and indeed every keen reader, will have a field day analysing it.