Ali Smith is a onsistently highly interesting writer. Over the last few years I have read and
posted on several of her short stories as well as her masterful lecture series Artful I was happy when the publisher of her latest collection offered me a review copy of Public Library and other Stories.
The collection was assembled in part in response to the recent closing in the U.K of many public libraries, done by the government in an effort to save money. Interspersed with the stories are accounts of British authors about what free public libraries have meant to them. As I reside in city of ten million or so with the world's biggest malls but with no public libraries I found these memoirs very moving.
One of the reasons I enjoyed this collection was in almost every story the reading lives of the characters is a central aspect of the story. One character talks about the great World War One Poet Winfred Owen with her late father. Katherine Mansfield comes into play several times.
This is a very good worthwhile collection of short stories. The stories about libraries are very moving.
ALI SMITH is the author of ten previous works of fiction. Three of her novels—Hotel World, The Accidental, and How to be both—have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. How to be both won the Costa Novel Award, the Baileys Women’s Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize, and the Saltire Literary Book of the Year Award. 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.