I’ve read some Ali Smith before, both novels and short story collections, so I knew what I was getting into. For the most part, the stories are engaging, either humorous or emotional or both, though a few seem too obtuse or “literary” to have really moved me… except the last story in the volume, which happens to be the eponymous “The First Person.” It’s perfect. It’s everything a short story should be. I loved it, and it reminded me why I loved Ali Smith in the first place. Pure beauty. Even if you don’t read the others — and I’d suggest you do — pick this book up just to read the finale. Well worth it.
Short short stories are hard not to finish, because you read one and think, “Okay, just one more!” But I think on some subconscious, serendipitous level, I finished this so I could get to the last story, the best short story I’ve read in a while, “The First Person.”