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Autumn by Ali Smith
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Autumn

by Ali Smith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Seasonal Quartet (1)

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6764820,197 (3.91)173

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» See also 173 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Autumn opens with a lovely, lyrical, and memorable episode of magic realism restoring an old man to vitality.
The chapter is just the right length.

Unfortunately, the plot then devolves into a seriously BORING and unfunny post office passport chapter which
ended with the book going into the donation box.

As with Knausgaard's 4 Seasonal volumes, I won't be following the trips and wonder about all the praise. ( )
  m.belljackson | Jul 17, 2018 |
Ali Smith is one of my favorite novelists working today and this is possibly her best book. It's a beautiful examination of a complex decades-long relationship. Thoughtful, elegiac, and really just lovely. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
She is an amazing writer, and this book tells a strange and familiar story at the same time ( )
  Eva_Filoramo | May 3, 2018 |
(22) Oh dear. I am afraid I did not like this at all. I have never read this author, but she seemed to have quite a bit of critical acclaim and this book apparently was a Man Booker finalist -- but it was most definitely not to my taste. I don't know - perhaps my tastes are coarsening with the history and the fantasy I have been reading lately, but my pretentiousness alarm was going off full blast through most of this novel.

So, I didn't know who Pauline Boty and Chrisitne Keeler were and honestly weren't sure I cared enough to look them up while I read. I looked them up just now having finished, piqued about the "scandal." Still didn't do anything for me. Anyway, I guess this novel is about a single woman who seems to have carried the torch for an old man she grew up next store to who may or may not have been gay. He lay in a nursing home over 100 years old and sleeps and dreams and she sits by his side, doing the same - remembering, nostalgic, maybe a bit bitter at how Great Britain has turned out. The same hand-wringing attitude of all the liberal upper middle class Amercians post Trump.

The writing is elliptical, poetical, frankly exasperating. I found it very difficult to care and very easy to skim. The author never painted a convincing enough portrait of the old Mr. Gluck and Elisabeth outside their heads for this reader to care to be deep within their heads. And then bringing in the whole pop artist, feminism angle seemed totally random and unconnected to anything that maybe was developing surrounding the poignancy of losing someone close to you who is very old.

Given the critical acclaim, I kept waiting for this to get better and finally just kept waiting for it to be over. For the first time in a long time, I just didn't want to read at night as I knew this book awaited. Yawn! I am sure there are some redeeming qualities. It was artful, clever, some lovely imagery -- but totally unengaging for me at my age. I think I would have liked it in college though. I will not read this author again. ( )
  jhowell | Apr 22, 2018 |
Incredible. ( )
1 vote saresmoore | Mar 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ali Smithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grove, MelodyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hockney, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
“Spring come to you at the farthest,
In the very end of harvest!
William Shakespeare
At current rates of soil erosion, Britain has just 100 harvests left.
Guardian, 20 July 2016
Green as the grass we lay in corn, in sunlight
Ossie Clark
If I am destined to be happy with you here – how short is the longest Life.
John Keats
Gently disintegrate me
WS Graham
Dedication
For Gilli Bush-Bailey
see you next week

and for Sarah Margaret
Hardy perennial Wood
First words
It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times. Again.
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Book description
Daniel Gluck, a 101-year-old former songwriter, lies asleep and dreaming in his care home. He is regularly visited by 32-year-old Elisabeth Demand, who had been his next door neighbour as a young child. Her mother had disapproved of their early friendship, based on her belief that Daniel was gay, but Elisabeth had nevertheless formed a close bond with him and been inspired by his descriptions of works of art. As a consequence of his influence on her, Elisabeth is now a junior arts lecturer at a London university. A major character in the novel is the long-dead '60s pop artist, Pauline Boty,[6] the subject of Elisabeth's graduate school thesis. The story largely alternates between Daniel's prolonged dreams as he edges closer to death, and Elisabeth's recollections of the origins of their friendship and its repercussions.
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MAN BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST Long-listed for the Gordon Burn Prize One of the?New York Times ?10 Best Books of the Year?A Washington Post Notable Book?One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, Dwight Garner/The New York Times , Martha Kearney/The Guardian , Slate , Chicago Tribune ,?Southern Living , Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ,?The Morning News , Kirkus Reviews? Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Two old friends-Daniel, a centenarian, and Elisabeth, born in 1984-look to both the future and the past as the United Kingdom stands 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. ? A luminous meditation on the meaning of richness and harvest and worth, Autumn is the first installment of Ali Smith's Seasonal quartet, 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. Wide-ranging in time-scale and light-footed through histories, Autumn is an unforgettable story about aging and time and love-and stories themselves.… (more)

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