cover image Artful


Ali Smith, read by the author. Highbridge Audio, unabridged, four CDs, 4 hrs., $24.95 ISBN 978-1-62231-183-5

Ali Smith delivered a collection of lectures in 2012 on European literature at St. Anne%E2%80%99s College, Oxford, that are presented here through the first-person voice of a fictional woman confronted by the physical presence of her husband, despite his death. The lectures weave together different times, movements, and elements of the arts to consider not only what art is, but also the purposes it serves and the ways it moves people. With a Scottish accent that simultaneously reveals pain for the passing husband and celebrates life and art, Smith adds complexity and meaning to the book through her narration. Her shifts from soulful to smiling can occur over the course of just a few words, and she uses her tone and timing to the fullest effect in these moments. Her soft but inviting voice seduces listeners and keeps their attention throughout. A Penguin Press hardcover. (May)