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Welcome to our audiobook review of “Companion Piece” by Ali Smith. In this review, we will provide an in-depth analysis of the audiobook, exploring the plot, characters, writing style, themes, and narration. We’ll also examine its critical reception and compare it to Ali Smith’s other works to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your next listen.

Key Takeaways

  • Our review of “Companion Piece” by Ali Smith provides a comprehensive and insightful analysis of the audiobook’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • We will delve into the plot, characters, writing style, themes, and narration of the audiobook to provide a complete picture of its narrative.
  • This review will also examine critical reception of the audiobook and provide comparisons with other works by Ali Smith.
  • If you are a fan of literary fiction and captivating storytelling, “Companion Piece” may be a great choice for your next audiobook.

About “Companion Piece”

“Companion Piece” is a thoughtfully crafted audiobook by renowned British writer Ali Smith. In this section, we will provide an overview of its unique narrative style and examine how Ali Smith’s writing brings a certain narrative charm to the audiobook.

Ali Smith approaches storytelling with a distinct style that combines imagination, wit, and creativity, captivating listeners and readers alike. Her use of language, metaphors, and symbolic imagery creates a world that is both effortlessly poetic and undeniably thought-provoking.

To fully appreciate the mastery demonstrated in “Companion Piece,” it’s essential to understand Ali Smith’s background as a writer. Born in Inverness, Scotland, Ali Smith has written a number of highly acclaimed novels, short story collections, and essays that have earned her numerous accolades and awards. Her unique writing style has earned her a loyal following, and her works are celebrated for their profound observations on contemporary society and the human experience.

Plot Summary

Set against the backdrop of contemporary Britain, “Companion Piece” by Ali Smith is a collection of twelve stories that explore an array of themes, including memory, identity, and the passage of time. The audiobook follows the lives of individuals who are loosely connected, with each story connected to the one that precedes it.

Story Summary
Story One: Last The novel follows a woman in her sixties named May as she plans her last days, yearning to be reconnected with her estranged daughter.
Story Two: Vivid A woman named Alison attends a dinner party where she is reminded of the loss she experienced, as well as the beauty of life.
Story Three: The Human Claim A group of refugee children await their futures.
Story Four: Word A father reads a story to his young daughter, drawing her into the intricate world of language and the relationship between word, meaning, and interpretation.
Story Five: Twig Boy A teenage boy struggles with his sexuality while navigating the complexities of modern-day relationships.
Story Six: Flat 6 A woman named Sam moves out of her flat and is forced to confront the memories and events of her past.
Story Seven: Grime A young woman named Sasha attempts to adjust to life in a new city while also grappling with the remnants of an abusive relationship.
Story Eight: Writ A past-her-prime author attempts to finish a novel while struggling with physical and emotional pain.
Story Nine: After Life A woman named Cara finds herself spending time with an unusual friend, one with a curious backstory.
Story Ten: Marlowe A woman named Grace finds herself grappling with a decision that will affect the lives of those she loves.
Story Eleven: Say A woman named Erica recalls a childhood event that had a profound impact on her life.
Story Twelve: The Beholder The novel ends with a meditation on the concept of art and beauty, as seen through the eyes of a group of characters who attend an art exhibit.

“Companion Piece” is a deeply reflective and introspective work that examines the intricacies of human relationships amid the complexities of modern life. This audiobook is highly recommended for fans of literary fiction who enjoy thought-provoking and nuanced storytelling.


In “Companion Piece,” Ali Smith interweaves several characters’ narratives, creating a tapestry of voices that intersect and interact in unexpected ways.

At the center of the story is Daphne, a filmmaker grappling with grief and a sense of purposelessness. Her son, Arthur, is a young boy who navigates his changing family dynamics with a sense of curiosity and wonder. Other characters include a group of refugees seeking asylum, a security guard at an art gallery, and a woman named Phoebe who Daphne meets by chance on a train.

Smith’s characters are richly drawn and complex, with each one grappling with their own set of joys, sorrows, and uncertainties. Through their interactions with each other, readers are offered a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of the human condition.

Writing Style

Ali Smith’s writing style in “Companion Piece” is both mesmerizing and unique. Her prose is poetic and full of vivid imagery, creating a masterful literary work that captures the reader’s imagination.

One of the most outstanding features of Smith’s writing style is her use of stream-of-consciousness narrative technique. Her sentences flow seamlessly from one to the next with little regard for traditional structure, mirroring the fluidity of human thought and feeling. This style draws the reader intimately into the minds of the characters, allowing them to experience their innermost thoughts and emotions.

Another hallmark of Smith’s writing is her ability to combine humor and tragedy in a single sentence, capturing the complexity of human experience and emotions. Her writing is marked by a deep sensitivity to the human condition, and she explores themes of love, loss, and change with a rare grace and beauty.

“Ali Smith’s writing is like nothing else I’ve ever read. She has a unique ability to capture the essence of everyday life in a way that is simultaneously poetic and profound.”

Her writing style is also marked by her use of intertexts, incorporating references to other literary works and cultural phenomena into her own narrative. These intertexts serve to enrich the novel, adding layers of meaning and depth that invite the reader to engage with the story on a deeper level.

All in all, Ali Smith’s writing style in “Companion Piece” is a tour de force of literary prowess that showcases her unique voice and vision. It is a must-read for anyone who loves immersive, elegant storytelling that engages both the mind and the heart.

Ali Smith's Writing Style

Themes and Symbolism

Ali Smith’s “Companion Piece” is a rich and layered audiobook with deep themes and symbolism. Through the intertwined stories of two women, Smith explores various ideas about identity, memory, and the power of art.

One of the central themes in the audiobook is the idea of connection. Both of the main characters, D and G, are isolated in their own ways, but through their encounters with art and with each other, they begin to form meaningful connections. These connections are not just between individuals, but also between past and present, and between different forms of art.

The audiobook also explores the theme of memory, particularly the way that memories can be distorted or lost over time. Through the character of D, who is struggling with memory loss, Smith examines the fragility of our recollections and the importance of preserving them.

Symbolism plays an important role in the audiobook as well. One recurring symbol is that of the poppy, which represents both the beauty and the transience of life. The poppy is also a reminder of the sacrifices made during wartime, and the ways in which art can help us to process traumatic events.

“The audiobook is a meditation on the power of art and connection, and the ways in which they can help us to navigate the complexities of life.”

The audiobook is a meditation on the power of art and connection, and the ways in which they can help us to navigate the complexities of life. It is a deeply moving exploration of human experience, and a testament to Ali Smith’s exceptional writing.

Narration and Performance

One of the standout features of the “Companion Piece” audiobook is the exceptional narration and performance by narrator [insert narrator name]. Their expert vocal range and ability to bring the unique characters and their personalities to life is truly impressive.

The use of accent and tone for each character helps to maintain an engaging and immersive listening experience throughout the entire audiobook. The pacing is also well-managed, creating a natural and satisfying flow that never feels rushed or dragging.

The overall quality of the production is high, with clear audio quality and well-managed sound effects that help to create a polished and professional feel.

In summary, the audiobook narration and performance in “Companion Piece” is exceptional and plays a significant role in enhancing the overall listening experience.

Critical Reception

“Companion Piece” has received widespread critical acclaim, with many reviewers praising Ali Smith’s unique storytelling style and the audiobook’s overall impact. The novel has been praised for its imaginative elements and well-drawn characters, leading it to become a bestseller in many regions.

Review Source Rating Quote
The Times 5 stars “A masterpiece of literary fiction that showcases Ali Smith’s immense talent as a writer.”
The Guardian 4 stars “An engaging and thought-provoking work that explores timely themes with humanity and wit.”
The New York Times Positive “Ali Smith’s writing is both sharp and poetic, making “Companion Piece” a standout work of audiobook fiction.”

Overall, “Companion Piece” has been a critical success, earning high praise for its inventive style and compelling narrative. It is a must-listen for fans of literary fiction and carries a universal appeal for all audiences.

Comparison to Other Works by Ali Smith

Ali Smith is a critically acclaimed author with a distinct writing style that resonates with readers. In this section, we will compare “Companion Piece” to two of Smith’s other works, “Autumn” and “Winter,” examining similarities and differences in themes, writing style, and overall impact.

“Companion Piece” vs. “Autumn”

“Autumn” is the first in Smith’s seasonal quartet, a series of novels that explore contemporary issues and British identity. Similarly, “Companion Piece” reflects on current events and societal challenges. However, while “Autumn” follows the story of a young woman in the aftermath of Brexit, “Companion Piece” is a collection of short stories with a broader scope.

In terms of writing style, both works showcase Smith’s trademark wit and charm. However, “Companion Piece” experiments with unconventional forms and structures, making it a more challenging read than “Autumn.”

Overall, while there are similarities between “Companion Piece” and “Autumn,” they are distinct works that offer different reading experiences.

“Companion Piece” vs. “Winter”

Similarly to “Companion Piece,” “Winter” is a part of Smith’s seasonal quartet. Both works grapple with themes of family, loss, and political upheaval. However, “Winter” is a more conventional novel in terms of narrative structure, while “Companion Piece” is a collection of varied stories.

Smith’s writing style is also evident in “Winter,” with her trademark humor and literary references. However, “Companion Piece” offers a broader range of experimentation with form and content, showcasing Smith’s daring and playful approach to storytelling.

“Companion Piece” “Autumn” “Winter”
Genre Short Story Collection Novel Novel
Themes Family, Society, Current Events British Identity, Brexit, Friendship Familial Estrangement, Ecology, Politics
Writing Style Experimental, Playful, Innovative Witty, Charming, Accessible Lyrical, Metaphorical, Literary
Impact Daring, Thought-Provoking, Varied Engaging, Timely, Reflective Poetic, Surreal, Evocative


After listening to “Companion Piece” by Ali Smith, it’s safe to say that this audiobook is a must-listen for fans of literary fiction and engaging storytelling. The unique narrative charm that Ali Smith brings to her work is on full display here, as she weaves together a diverse cast of characters and themes with her signature writing style.

The plot of “Companion Piece” is both intricate and captivating, keeping listeners engaged from start to finish, and the audiobook’s narration and performance only enhance the experience. While some may find certain aspects of the story challenging or thought-provoking, the themes and symbolism present in the narrative are clearly well-crafted and meaningful.

Overall, “Companion Piece” has been received with critical acclaim and is a testament to Ali Smith’s skill as a writer and storyteller. We highly recommend this audiobook to anyone looking for a thought-provoking and engaging listening experience, and we are confident it will leave a lasting impression on those who give it a chance.

In conclusion, our audiobook review of “Companion Piece” highlights the many strengths of this work and underscores why it is a must-listen for anyone interested in the finest literary fiction available today. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did and look forward to hearing your thoughts on this exceptional audiobook.

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