4 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 4 hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781622311835. $24.95; 4 CDs. library ed.; digital download. MEMOIR
Toward the beginning of the first of the four lectures that make up Smith's new book, she quotes Matthew Reynolds on Sappho, saying, "The longing in the fragments was doubled by a longing felt by readers for the fragments themselves to be made whole," adding, "It is the act of making it up, from the combination of what we've got and what we haven't, that makes the human, makes the art…." Fitting then, that Smith's book is made up of four unfinished literary lectures. Everyone from Michelangelo to Beyoncé is referenced, as our narrator wanders through days and thoughts in a dense collage of words, haunted by the lover who is gone. There is grief here but also a joyful spirit at work in the form of wordplay and appreciation for the transformative power of art. Smith reads the audio version, and while American readers may at first be challenged by her quick speech and Scottish accent, there is a moving intimacy to her narration.
VERDICT Readers of serious literature and poetry will find this a rich, worthy listen.
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