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Spring: 'A dazzling hymn to hope’ Observer…
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Spring: 'A dazzling hymn to hope’ Observer (Seasonal Quartet) (original 2019; edition 2020)

by Ali Smith (Author)

Series: Seasonal Quartet (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5202637,828 (4.07)107
What unites Katherine Mansfield, Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare, Rilke, Beethoven, Brexit, the present, the past, the north, the south, the east, the west, a man mourning lost times, a woman trapped in modern times? Spring. The great connective. With an eye to the migrancy of story over time and riffing on Pericles, one of Shakespeare's most resistant and rollicking works, Ali Smith tell the impossible tale of an impossible time. In a time of walls and lockdown, Smith opens the door. The time we're living in is changing nature. Will it change the nature of story? Hope springs eternal.--… (more)
Member:anicegreenleaf
Title:Spring: 'A dazzling hymn to hope’ Observer (Seasonal Quartet)
Authors:Ali Smith (Author)
Info:Penguin (2020), Edition: 01, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
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Spring by Ali Smith (2019)

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» See also 107 mentions

English (25)  Dutch (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
“April.
It teaches us everything.
The coldest and nastiest days of the year can happen in April. It won’t matter. It’s April.”

“Even the machine has to encounter nature, not even it can escape the earth. There's something reassuring in that.”

"The light starts to push back, stark in the cold. But birdsong rounds the day, the first and last thing as the light comes and goes."

The third in Smith’s seasonal quartet is a tough one to describe. It is more immersive and introspective, than plot driven. Four different people get thrown together, while traveling through Scotland. An aged film director, a security guard, a librarian and a mysterious twelve-year-old girl. How their lives change on this chance meet-up, is the thrust of the story. There are plenty of ruminations on Shakespeare, poetry, climate change and Brexit. Not always an easy read but her lovely writing and pure ambition make it worthy of your time. ( )
  msf59 | Apr 5, 2022 |
This book took me a long time to read, and considering how short it is I can definitely attribute that to my own attention issues and not the book. In the beginning of reading this I don't think I paid as much attention as this book demands. I didn't realize how demanding this book would be? Not demanding in the way that classic literature is, more so It requires you to learn and listen as you read, and to even do research to truly understand the nuance of some comparisons. Apart from that, I don't think I've read prettier modern period prose than I have when reading this book. Sure, I haven't read much, but Ali Smith is a fantastic writer. She integrates dialogue in such a natural, non-obstructive way and it's as if real people were speaking rather than models for people. I think it's very easy in a book about such dense and angering topics to make preacher like characters who aren't people but messengers for a theme. But Ali Smith didn't write perfect people, she wrote real people. Real people that don't have resolved endings and are dealing with this new Spring in their lives, dealing with the pain of the thawing winter. And how people can be so frozen in their ways that they aren't ready to accept that change. So, yeah. I will be reading the rest of this seasonal quartet and I hope that they inspire as much thought in me as this one did. ( )
1 vote AldaLyons | Sep 23, 2021 |
Spring and the feeling of hope is here in this book but much of it was too sad to really feel this. The darkness of winter kept creeping into this spring. As ever, Ali Smith is a powerful story teller. She brings in so much information and so many ideas. Please read other reviews for more detail! ( )
  CarolKub | Jul 19, 2021 |
There are so many excellent reviews already posted that I can't possibly add much insight. I loved this book....but at first, I didn't. We start with the story of Richard, an aging film maker who was more famous decades ago. He has recently lost his best friend and co-worker, finds himself alone with only an uninspiring project offered to him.

There is a sudden jolt in the novel, and we move to the story of Brit, an officer in charge of immigrants awaiting deportation and a young schoolgirl named Florence. I wondered if these stories would come together because they were so different. As I became more engrossed in this story, I started liking the book again.

And they do come together in a wonderful way. The book contains the message of the importance of hope in spite of every evidence to the contrary. ( )
  LynnB | Jul 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Like its two predecessors this dynamic novel captures the many turmoils of life in the contemporary U.K. through ecstatic language and indirect narrative collisions. The first third, set mostly on a Scottish train platform, concerns Richard Lease, an over-the-hill TV and film director mourning his recently deceased collaborator, Paddy. Rife with nuanced reflections on the nature of art and mourning, Richard's ruminative section is the book's most immediate and engaging. After Richard lowers himself into the path of an oncoming train, readers meet his would-be rescuer, Brit, a security guard at a migrant detention facility. Brit has been lured into an impromptu journey by Florence, a pseudo-messianic young girl seemingly capable of inspiring empathy in even the darkest of hearts. The three mismatched characters are soon traveling together, on their way to an old battlefield where the violences of yesteryear and the present day will converge. As was the case with Autumn and Winter, the novel's setting is its foremost strength and increasingly enervating flaw, leading to writing that alternately astounds and exasperates. About three-quarters of the way through the third quarter of this series, the book's most memorable character, Richard, provides a relevant description of the whole enterprise, a response for every season: Gimmicky, but impressive all the same.
added by VivienneR | editPublisher's Weekly (Oct 6, 2021)
 
This is a novel that contains multitudes, and the wonder is that Smith folds so much in, from visionary nature writing to Twitter obscenities, in prose that is so deceptively relaxed.
added by thorold | editThe Guardian, Justine Jordan (Mar 30, 2019)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ali Smithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burton, JulietteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hockney, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kustodiev, Boris MikhaylovichCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munday, OliverCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
He seems to be a stranger, but his present is
A withered branch that's only green at top.
The motto: in hac spe vivo.
William Shakespeare
But if the endlessly dead awakened a symbol in us,
perhaps they would point to the catkins hanging from the bare
branches of the hazes-trees, or
would evoke the raindrops that fall onto the dark earth in springtime. -
Rainer Maria Rilke / Stephen Mitchell
We must begin, which is the point.
After Trump, we must begin.
Alain Badiou
I am looking for signs of Spring already.
Katherine Mansfield
The year stretched like a child
and rubbed its eyes on light.
George Mackay Brown
Dedication
To keep in mind
my brother
Gordon Smith

and for
my brother
Andrew Smith

to keep in mind
my friend
Sarah Daniel

and for
o bloomiest!
Sarah Wood
First words
Now what we don't want is Facts.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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What unites Katherine Mansfield, Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare, Rilke, Beethoven, Brexit, the present, the past, the north, the south, the east, the west, a man mourning lost times, a woman trapped in modern times? Spring. The great connective. With an eye to the migrancy of story over time and riffing on Pericles, one of Shakespeare's most resistant and rollicking works, Ali Smith tell the impossible tale of an impossible time. In a time of walls and lockdown, Smith opens the door. The time we're living in is changing nature. Will it change the nature of story? Hope springs eternal.--

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