Surreal. It takes great skill to balance something surreal with the reality of person and place. Ali Smith does that expertly in her new collection, The First Person and Other Stories. I laughed aloud when I read “The Child,” in which a toddler looks one way and acts quite another. Smith’s cleverness and sense of the surreal appears in “Fidelio and Bess” when the characters Porgy & Bess begin to spear in Beethoven’s Fidelio. In “Writ” a woman is visited by her teenage self. Strange and surreal, but as with each story, used in a way that leads to reality and to an understanding of our humanity. If you’re interested in short stories, consider reading the finely crafted ones in The First Person.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)