A Novel

eBook - 2017
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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? 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. Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Daniel is 100 years-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. 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.
Publisher: 2017
ISBN: 9781101870747
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Jan 04, 2019

If you want a novel with a linear plot, this isn't the book for you. Rather, it's a series of lyrical vignettes that explore the relationship between Daniel Gluck, 100+ years old and his young neighbor, Elizabeth who was born in 1984. The skeleton of the story is set in 2016 in Brexit England when Daniel is in a care home and Elizabeth has just finished her doctorate on an obscure 1960s British female pop artist. Alternating between the two main characters's lives, Smith has a drawn a word portrait of British/western culture in the last 100 years. The scenes where Elizabeth tries to renew her passport at the Post Office are both funny and painfully true...

Dec 10, 2018

I like pretty much everything I've read by Ali Smith. Spare. Beautiful prose. Hard to define.

Sep 11, 2018

I love the word play and punning! Worth my repeated rumination.
Poetic, and profound. Alas, I couldn't develop more interests in and linger longer on life's seasonal cycles, 60s modern art, and contemporary societal issues (immigrants etc.).

Aug 19, 2018

Ali Smith has an idiosyncratic style to her writing which is appealing to me. She is at once present and not present. Can one be both? She is a time traveler. She makes fun of the ways that people think we should be, or behave, and balances this with a character whose imagination takes him into different realms.

I re-watched Alfie, a film I had not seen in many decades, just to see the few seconds of Pauline Boty inside the dry cleaners. What a treat.

Aug 17, 2018

I hated this book and am sorry that I wasted my time finishing it. I found the rhyming annoying rather that wonderful. The authors "joyful celebration of language" only served to obscure communication. I had difficulty finding continuity. Mr Gault appreciates pop art which leads to an unintelligible discourse on Pauline Boty. Why? What were we supposed to learn? And Christine Keeler - another tangent that elucidates nothing about Elisabeth and Daniel. I agreed with the disgust over "immigrant hatred". I guess the double fences are like Trump's proposed wall on the Mexican border. The only times that I liked the novel was when the story detailed the relationship between Elisabeth and Daniel. I wanted to know more about Daniel's history. VERY DISAPPOINTED. DO NOT RECOMMEND. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Apr 07, 2018

Smith explores inter-generational friendship, end-of life, mother-daughter relationships, art history and being female in post-Brexit England. She also acquaints the reader with recently
re-discovered 1970's poster artist Pauline Bott. Although not my favorite read; a book group discussion enhanced my appreciation.

GSPLjodie Dec 12, 2017

An immersive and intriguing read. I think I will need to read it again to fully appreciate the many storylines.

ArapahoeAndrew Dec 11, 2017

Beautifully written; I found myself going back to reread passages not for plot but for appreciation.

Dec 02, 2017

On NYT Ten Best Books of 2017 list.

Sep 23, 2017

This is the first installament of what she intends to be her Seasonal quartet. It is a meditation on aging, art, love, friendship, sexism. she is a wonderful wordsmith using wonderful prose and wordplay and puns. The characters are Daniel who in autumn of 2016 is 100 years old and Elizabeth who is 34 an unlikely friendship.

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