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Review: Autumn By Ali Smith

It’s not always the best, but it doesn’t seem to be the worst. While it may be the age science and wisdom, it is also the age madness. It is not clear to me if it is a period of great beliefs. It is a time of doubt. It is possible that this is an era that is full of light, but it is certain that there is more darkness. Is there a spring of hope or a winter full of despair? What do you think?

This novel is full of humor, avant-garde, poetry, humor, and Charles Dickens. You can judge for yourself. The first book of Seasonal Quartet was called Autumn. It is a collection of four novels, each named after a season of the year. This novel was published in autumn 2016. It was finished in summer 2016, during the outbreak of coronavirus. This literary experiment of publishing (and writing) fiction almost in real-time and with the passing seasons has been transformed by the Scottish writer into a huge success. It has also established itself as one of the most innovative and current voices on the European literary scene (and has even fucked the Brexists).

Finally, for a few more weeks, autumn has arrived in Spain. It has come hand in hand to Nordica Libros. This delicious autumn will bring back the old questions, whether they are those Dickens left or those Shakespeare gave us five hundred year ago. But, it is completely updated. Because autumn is, according to Smith’s novel, the season for remembrance, childhood that is not longer, season of platonic and unattainable love, season of despair, and chaos. This autumn, however, is the season that sees the world disappearing under the blinding cloaks of progress and modernity, a world that seems almost ancient, and will always seem better.

These are the premises under which Ali Smith, with his originality and lyrical style, teaches us about the United Kingdom, where there is confusion following the Brexit vote.

Smith uses the memories and experiences of Elisabeth Demand (a thirty-year old art historian, university professor with an uncertain contract, and ultimately another human being lost in the middle a strange and alien world), to describe the problems facing modern society. It is not letting its vision fall upon highly current issues like the struggle between the Europe of the Peoples or Europe of One People.

The novel follows several paths, which don’t stop crossing each other and mixing. Elisabeth and her mother’s relationship, Elisabeth and Pauline Boty’s relationship to art, but most importantly Elisabeth and Mr. Gluck, her seventy-year-old neighbor who is now ill and interning in a nursing facility. Memories of their thoughtful conversations during her childhood, walks with her, games of imagination as a child, and reflections on art and life are the foundation of her learning tree. The formation of a very present human being and the accumulation of knowledge. Gluck, on the other hand, is a marvelous metaphor. Love. Of hope. The Memorie. A metaphor for a happy universe. It comes from another world. It is not of this world. Not in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Therefore, we are before any novel, no matter how modern or necessary. A social kaleidoscope of beauty that allows us to better understand the world around us. This is a new and important time.

It’s Fall, by Ali Smith. I already look forward to Winter.

ABOUT

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Hi, my name's Sarah Star and welcome to my book review blog.

I come from Oklahoma and live there with my family.

By profession, I studied library and information science.

I am currently writing a novel and focusing on my new book review blog.

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