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Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis

Ali Smith



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Text Publishing Company
29 October 2007
Fiction & Literature; Myth & legend told as fiction
According to Ovid, when Iphis's mother fell pregnant, her husband threatened to kill the child if it was a girl. When Iphis was born, her mother raised her as a boy. Later, Iphis fell in love with another girl, and prayed to be allowed to marry her. The gods responded by transforming Iphis into a man, so that she could wed the love of her life. From the bones of this great cross-gender myth, Ali Smith conjures a spellbinding story that leaps across the centuries, making the myth sing again.
By:   Ali Smith
Imprint:   Text Publishing Company
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 199mm,  Width: 133mm,  Spine: 12mm
Weight:   128g
ISBN:   9781921351105
ISBN 10:   1921351101
Series:   Text Myth Series
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   29 October 2007
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Reviews for Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis

Updating Ovid's myth of Iphis and Ianthe, the noted British author slyly explores a blurring of the sexual divide.Novelist and short-story writer Smith (The Accidental, 2006, etc.) makes her contribution to a series of modernized myths via a brief narrative that limits the impact of her multiple themes. But there's still plenty of her customary stylistic and intellectual playfulness, as well as some bravura passages, in this story of sisters Imogen and Anthea Gunn, one in thrall to the Pure company that is busily packaging Scottish water - the perfect commodity - and the other in love with Robin Goodman, the graffiti artist she meets defacing Pure's company sign, leaving the signature IPHISOL. Robin is a girl, as was Iphis, the Cretan teenager who passed as a boy, fell in love with Ianthe, became betrothed to her but panicked over the question of satisfying her sexually after the wedding. Iphis's prayer to the gods was answered: She was changed into a male. Girl thus met boy in a whole new way, as Smith underlines in a sexual riff - I was a she was a he was a we - that further mingles gender boundaries. For the other sister, boy (Paul, a colleague) meets girl (Imogen) after a trip which has revealed Pure's not-so-spotless ambitions for global domination. Paul first shows Imogen some new, bold, feminist graffiti, then takes her to bed. There's an appropriately happy ending: Reader, I married him/her. The politics don't especially convince, but the comic, smart, spirited tale-spinning often amuses. (Kirkus Reviews)

  • Short-listed for The Clare Maclean Prize for Scottish Fiction 2007
  • Shortlisted for The Clare Maclean Prize for Scottish Fiction 2007.

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