How to Be Both Quotes

Ali Smith
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This will be the first year her mother hasn’t been alive since the year her mother was born. That is so obvious that it is stupid even to think about it and yet so terrible that you can’t not think it. Both at once.
-- Narrator (Section 1 paragraph 2)

Importance: Early in the novel, it is revealed that George’s mother has died. It hurts George deeply, who realizes the New Year will be the first without her mother, and the first without her mother being alive since her mother was born. It is a terrible thought, and an obvious thought to have. Yet it also underscores the dual nature of the novel- two things being both at once.

Because if things really did happen simultaneously it’d be like reading a book but one in which all the lines of text have been overprinted, like each page is actually two pages but with...
-- Narrator (Section 1 paragraph 11)

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This section contains 1,063 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the How to Be Both Study Guide
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