The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith: Astute Fiery Luxurious

the first person and other stories

In Astute Fiery Luxurious, the narrator who is staying home ill accepts a parcel from the postman before discovering it is a misdelivery. Its address is correct, but no one by the name of the addressee lives in the narrator’s apartment, and there’s something about the parcel that unsettles the narrator.

When the narrator’s partner comes home, she finds the narrator throwing away a perfectly good banana because it had been touching the parcel! The partner doesn’t get it at first, but when she sees the parcel, she too agrees that there’s something sinister about it.

The two of them then decide to slit it open and take a peek, and its contents prove their intuition right. Inside the parcel which is reeking, they find a little boy’s pajamas, some photographs of a child, and a note which reads “WHoSAnAUGHtYBoYtHEn.” This creeps them out, so they leave the parcel outside their apartment. But even then they don’t succeed in falling asleep, and they end up talking about one of the narrator’s former crushes.

Once again, this is a story I would file under “weird.” The story gives different endings for the parcel, and I’m not sure if the parcel is somehow a metaphor for that crush? Why else would the narrator remember her crush on the very day she receives a disturbing parcel? I might have to reread Astute Fiery Luxurious (which you can find here) to figure that one out. ūüėÄ

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