Simile and Similarity in Ali Smith’s Like

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores the uses and significances of the word ‘like’ in Ali Smith’s first novel. Looking in close detail at a number of key passages and narrative threads in Like (1997), and with reference to the work of Hélène Cixous on a ‘nonappropriating’ affirma- tive economy, it contends that this novel outlines various concerns about ‘like’, not least concerning the way in which it can be used to elide or obscure actuality. Amy and Ash, the two main protagonists in Like, each come to regard comparison and simile with a degree of suspicion, and develop a more direct approach to reality, one based upon affirmation rather than analogy (what someone or something ‘is’, rather than what they or it are ‘like’). Through this, and in its creative use of word play and syntax, Like can be seen as a significant text in the development of Smith’s fiction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAli Smith (Contemporary Critical Perspectives)
EditorsMonica Germanà, Emily Horton
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-441-15990-8, 978-1-441-18155-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-441-15760-7, 978-1-441-10518-9
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Simile and Similarity in Ali Smith’s Like'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this