Book Review: Companion Piece by Ali Smith

Ali Smith’s first novel since her Extraordinary Seasonal Quartet“has an apt title,” Alex Preston said in The Observer, as it “springs from the same source as its predecessors”. Like her, it was “quickly written and published” to plug recent events.

It’s 2021 and Sandy, an artist, is ‘struggling through lockdown’. Her father is in the hospital after a heart attack – and she has “only his dog for company”. Smith skillfully evokes the grim monotony of pandemic life, Catherine Taylor said in the FT – from the “regularity of the tests” to the “exhaustion of the medical staff”.

Much of the plot involves Sandy’s “re-acquaintance” with Martina, an old college friend who gets in touch with her to tell her about her recent interrogation by British Border Police, Philip Hensher said in The Daily Telegraph.

This leads to Sandy meeting Martina’s twin daughters, Eden and Lea, who are filled with “millennial” anger and entitlement. Covering “Much Contemporary”, companion piece offers an entertaining portrait of the “world we live in from the most bewitching and likable of all fictional intelligences”.

Hamish Hamilton 400 pages £16.99

book cover

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