Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That's what it felt like for Keats in 1819. How about Autumn 2016? Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic, once-in-a-generation summer.Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand-in-hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever. Ali Smith's new novel is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. It is the first installment of her Seasonal quartet--four stand-alone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are)--and it casts an eye over our own time. Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearean jeu d'esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s pop art: the centuries cast their eyes over our own history making. Here's where we're living. Here's time at its most contemporaneous and its most cyclic. From the imagination of the peerless Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in time-scale and light-footed through histories, a story about aging and time and love and stories themselves....
|Title||:||Autumn (Seasonal #1)|
|Number of Pages||:||264 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Autumn » Autumn (Seasonal #1)|
Autumn (Seasonal #1) Reviews
What are you reading?
A tale of two people.
Tell me about it.
It's a book full of leaves, green ones and brown ones. And white ones too, of course.
Ha! But seriously, describe it to me.
It's a book with a hole in the middle.
Now you're just being absurd.
No, wait. There's really as much absence as presence in this book.
Tell me what's in it - not what's not in it.
It's a book of fragments that fit together in odd arrangements.
Give me an example of the way the fragments fit together.
There's a sister who ...more
Death, Dickens, refugees, trees, fear, old age, Brexit, friendship, Shakespeare, love, lies, Christine Keeler, art, fences, stories, Pauline Boty (lots of the lovely Pauline Boty), seeing, Keats, disillusionment, rebirth, Ovid, exclusion, women, awakening.
(Even 'Trump' is a one-word sentence within the novel, though I hesitate to add it to the list, except to note that it adds to the contemporaneity. Perhaps she means the verb and it's an imperative sentence...nope.)
Weave all of the above an ...more
Update: Shortlisted for the Booker and it would be a wonderfully worthy winner - and the novel has aged better than I had predicted - if anything as the written-as-you-read-it Brexit autumn leaves have faded, the evergreen parts of the text show through.
Pauline Boty with her, now lost, painting Scandal 63 based on (a variation of) the famous Christine Keeler photographic portrait by Lewis Morley.
For my full review of Autumn please see the excellent Mookse and Gripes blog (to which this review is ...more
I waited almost a year to read this book, and I'm glad to say I was not disappointed. Although Ali Smith is a writer that I have struggled with over the years, Autumn is probably my favourite book I've read of hers so far. Not only is the hardcover edition an absolute joy to behold and read from, it's also a poignant and timely story that has characters who fly off the page and moments of beautifully written atmospheric observation.
Set mainly during the Autumn of 2016 in the aftermath of the Bre ...more
Heaps of spine-tingling narrative pleasure. One feels one’s short hairs standing on end while reading. Horripilating, is that the word? Like migraine aura but far more fun. Autumn’s a book about enlightened values versus what we’ve been getting lately from the mobocracy. No need to mention the B word or the T word here. Most things I read, the author’s point of view does not reflect my values, though he or she may come close. Quite the opposite with Autumn. Reading Smith one feels one has met wi ...more
This is a rewarding story of friendship over the long haul, the kind that seems to stand outside time. The relationship is between a female art historian and an elderly family neighbor, a man who listened to and empowered her from starting around age 10. We dip into the past of their connection as we experience Elisabeth in our present communing with her buddy Daniel in his lucid moments at a nursing home during his final fade with dementia at age 101. There is a sense of refuge and sanity for h ...more
This is not only the first of four novels based on the seasons, but it has also been acclaimed as the first Brexit novel. This makes it very British in some ways and the feelings in the country and the reactions to the vote form part of the novel, as in this much quoted piece:
“All across the country, there was misery and rejoicing. All across the country, what had happened whipped about by itself as if a live electric wire had snapped off a pylon in a storm and was whipping about in the air abov ...more
[A formidable 3.5]
[Originally appeared here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/li...]
She has done it in the past; and she does it again here. Ali Smith’s fixation on, and a visible mastery of, story-telling across timeline, in no particular order, shines in this experimental, breezy novel as well.
Centred around the 30-something Elisabeth Demand and her centenarian friend, Daniel Gluck, Autumn is a long, vibrant, occasionally melancholic, sometimes acerbic but entirely warming season of their fr ...more