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There But For The

A Novel

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

When a dinner-party guest named Miles locks himself in an upstairs room and refuses to come out, he sets off a media frenzy. He also sets in motion a mesmerizing puzzle of a novel, one that harnesses acrobatic verbal playfulness to a truly affecting story.
 
Miles communicates only by cryptic notes slipped under the door. We see him through the eyes of four people who barely know him, ranging from a precocious child to a confused elderly woman. But while the characters’ wit and wordplay soar, their story remains profoundly grounded. As it probes our paradoxical need for both separation and true connection, There but for the balances cleverness with compassion, the surreal with the deeply, movingly real, in a way that only Ali Smith can.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 25, 2011 – This startling lark from Smith (The Accidental) is so much more than the sum of its parts. Both breezy and devastating, the novel radiates from a whimsical center: Miles Garth, a dinner party guest, decides to leave the world behind and lock himself in his hostess's spare room, refusing to come out and communicating only by note. Four charmers with only tenuous links to Miles, nicknamed Milo by the growing crowd camped outside the suburban Greenwich, London house, narrate the proceedings: Anna, a girl who knew Miles briefly in the past; Mark, a melancholy gay man who Miles met watching Shakespeare at the Old Vic; May Young, an elderly woman who Miles helped grieve her daughter's death; and the wonderful, "preternaturally articulate" Brooke, arguably the cleverest 10-year-old in contemporary literature. Together they create a portrait not so much of Miles because none of them really knows him but of the zeitgeist of their society. In a lovely departure, and in spite of the fact that there is not one ordinary, carefree character in this whole tale, all parents are literate, loving, and tolerant: though Mark is exhausted and sad, his famous mum speaks to him, in verse no less, from beyond the grave; though May is trapped by dementia, she was a kind mother to her ill-fated daughter; and though Brooke is clearly plagued by attention deficit disorder and is misunderstood and disliked at school, her parents love her dearly. This fine, unusual novel is sweet and melancholy, indulgent of language and of the fragile oddballs who so relish in it.

Customer Reviews

"Inside The Jen - Eric (!) House"

"Inside The Jen - Eric (!) House"

I quite enjoyed this book. Roped in by the silly premise it is splendid enough to make me want to read anything else the author has written.

To explain much about the story is to spoil it but basically it is about a man who locks himself inside a room of a stranger's home ; told through four characters that do not know him very well.

The way the prose dances around and changes and how you really get inside the heads of the different people is so cleverly done. Always on the verse of cloying but only just.

Based on the premise you would not expect how funny, profound, critical and *human* the story is. It comes highly recommended.

There But For The
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Sep 13, 2011
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings