A series of interconnected narratives by different characters which all link to an accidental death in a hotel.
This wasn't a particularly easy read, partly because the story wasn't told in a straightforward way - you come to realise what's happened by a process of synthesis of the different accounts - and partly because some of the styles were hard work (for example, one of the sections has hardly any punctuation at all). But it was worth the effort: by the end of the book my first reaction was to turn back to the beginning and read it again (a bit like Jonathan Coe's books).
However, the story took second place to the descriptions and emotion of the writing, which were very powerful. Especially good were the section about the journalist staying in the hotel, which was surreal and yet believable, and the section by the dead girl's sister, where the last few pieces of the story are filled in as she thinks of the things she'd like to tell her sister but can't.
Will be worth looking for other books by Ali Smith.
Completed : 21-May-2004