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Review: Winter By Ali Smith

– “And that is what I know.”

– If we don’t take action, it will be too late.

– The ice

– It will last for a thousand years.

– What do you think?

– We will be found by someone.

These short, but powerful phrases are from a song someone, much like me, listened to years ago. A song that speaks more than it does sing. Or, something that could be similar to winter. The winter that must always be fought, against both the one in front and against yourself at all times. You know what I mean by pure winter? The one that is full of anger, sadness, loneliness, or both. The one that is depressed, lonely or sad. The winter of melancholy and freezing. The winter of destruction. It is the endless winter. Most people, but not all, look forward to it once and forever so that the sun shines again, even if dimly.

The Winter” by Ali Smith, his highly anticipated second installment of the Seasonal Quartet. It is exactly this winter that I am referring to. The winter of humans here and now, my and yours. Everybody’s. One on this blue planet is becoming whiter, even though the thaw is increasing. It is the winter, or the more than 30 winters, that passes between two sisters as distinct as two ice crystals. It is the winter that settles in the middle and fills the lives of a couple. The dark and cold winter that has been engulfing us for nearly an eternity, except for the Corona virus. The cruelty, lack of solidarity, poverty or death and injustice, as well as the inability to separate ourselves from the reality TV that we watch today are all examples of the lack thereof. It was winter. You? Is it not cold?

Ali Smith is not a breather of fresh air. Ali Smith is a gale. Each of his ideas is a literary hurricane. (Be sure to check out his book of short stories, The universal history, whose review you can also find here). Smith is undoubtedly the greatest writer we have ever read. A radical author, not very traditional, but imaginative to the point. He is intelligent, sharp, and insightful. He is also funny, ironic, and funny. He has a deep connection to art, which he includes in his novels as a decoration but also as an object of constant analysis in each text. The stories and the way she tells them are very different from those of others. However, they also reflect her unique point of view and reveal the universal and most easily recognized feelings.

As with Autumn, Winter is when the Scottish woman tells us a common story. It’s a story that unfolds in real-time. There’s more. Smith’s novels are advancing, but they continually return to the past (to various points in the present, actually) to drag them from there to a different place and make us more aware. Can there be a more realistic and imaginative way of presenting life? His clever and agile dialogs are right in the middle of all this. Don’t miss this opportunity. The scenarios are so easily recognizable because of the context in which they take place. This is the real story Ali Smith wants us to hear with this exceptional Seasonal Quartet.

He tells us about his two sisters. Sophia and Iris. They have worldviews completely different, but they are the same in their deepest parts. Their common history was cracked over many years. Sophia and Iris lived apart for over thirty years. They were separated by the bitter winter of their common grudges. We also hear the story of Arthur, Sophia’s son. He is a young man who searches the internet for copyright infringements. He has a troubled relationship with Charlotte. Lux, an unknown girl, is also allowed to join Art to pretend to be Charlotte, in a very lucrative financial arrangement. She will go with him to his old family home, where she will celebrate the Christmas holidays with her mother.

We will witness the destruction of winter and its secrets in human hearts from that old house, together with the appearance of Aunt Iris, an activist. However, we will also see how the snow falling on the world of living people is slowly melting, contrary to Joyce’s famous story about The Dead.

A great spring is therefore in sight. Smith at least. I would prefer to not tell you anything about the other, or the other winter. What? It’s better to wait. Trust. Let the ice melt around you slowly. We’ll soon see. You should read books like this Ali Smith book in the meantime. Keep walking. Keep your eyes open.


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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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