"The First Person and Other Stories" effortlessly appeals to our hearts, heads and funny bones. Always intellectually playful, but also very moving and funny, Smith explores the ways and whys of storytelling. In one, a middle-aged woman conducts a poignant conversation with her gauche fourteen-year-old self. In another, an innocent supermarket shopper finds in her trolley a foul-mouthed, insulting and beautiful child. Challenging the boundaries between fiction and reality, a third presents its narrator, 'Ali', as she drinks tea, phones a friend and muses on the relationship between the short story and - a nymph. Innovative, sophisticated and intelligent, the stories in "The First Person and Other Stories" are packed full of ideas, jokes, nuance and compassion. Ali Smith and the short story are made for each other.