Autumn

Autumn

A Novel

Paperback - 2017
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 MAN BOOKER PRIZE

A NEW YORK TIMES AND GUARDIAN BEST BOOK OF 2017

From the 2015 Baileys Prize-winning author of How to be both : An unconventional love story playing across the boundaries of time and history. . .

The first of four novels in a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories. Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy and the colour-hit of Pop Art--via a bit of very contemporary skulduggery and skull-diggery--
Autumn is a witty excavation of the present by the past. The novel is a stripped-branches take on popular culture, and a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, what harvest means. Autumn is part of the quartet Seasonal : four stand-alone novels, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are), exploring what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative.
Publisher: Toronto, ON :, Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada,, 2017
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780143197898
Branch Call Number: FIC SMI
Characteristics: 264 pages ; 21 cm

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o
OIPgayle
Nov 06, 2020

Very original voice. Loved this book

l
laurahobson
Sep 14, 2020

Lovely book

e
Einer2
May 31, 2020

Just not my cup of tea.

t
TheresaAJ
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...

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krsbozo
Dec 10, 2018

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

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xiaojunbpl12
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.).

m
Mooseum
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.

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maipenrai
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

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orange_lobster_23
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.

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p
paula_derby
Dec 18, 2019

I do, the neighbour said. Very pleased to meet you both. Finally.
How do you mean, finally? Elisabeth said. We only moved here six weeks ago.
The lifelong friends, he said. We sometimes wait a lifetime for them.

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paula_derby
Dec 18, 2019

And whoever makes up the story makes up the world, Daniel said. So always welcome people into the home of your story. That’s my suggestion. ... if you’re telling a story, always give your characters the same benefit of the doubt you’d welcome when it comes to yourself. ... And always give them a choice... Always give them a home. ... Now you’re ready, Daniel said. Ready for what? Elisabeth said. Ready to bagatelle it as it is, Daniel said.
...
As she passes the house with GO and HOME still written across it she sees that underneath this someone has added in varying bright colors WE ARE ALREADY HOME THANK YOU and painted a tree next to it and a row of bright red flowers ... the wild joyful brightness painted on the front of that house in a dire time

p
paula_derby
Dec 18, 2019

That morning on the radio she’d heard a spokesperson say, but it’s not just that we’ve been encouraging the opposite of integration for immigrants to this country. It’s that we’ve been rhetorically and practically encouraging ourselves not to integrate. We’ve been doing this as a matter of self-policing since Thatcher taught us to be selfish and not just to think but to believe that there’s no such thing as society.
Then the other spokesperson in the dialogue said, well you would say that. Get over it. Grow up. Your time’s over. Democracy. You lost.
It is like democracy is a bottle someone can threaten to smash and do a bit of damage with. It has become a time of people saying stuff to each other and none of it actually ever becoming dialogue.
It is the end of dialogue.

p
paula_derby
Dec 07, 2019

“All across the country, people felt it was the wrong thing. All across the country, people felt it was the right thing. All across the country, people felt they’d really lost. All across the country, people felt they’d really won. All across the country, people felt they’d done the right thing and other people had done the wrong thing. All across the country, people looked up Google: what is EU? All across the country, people looked up Google: move to Scotland. All across the country, people looked up Google: Irish passport applications. ... All across the country, people said it wasn’t that they didn’t like immigrants. All across the country, people said it was about control. All across the country, everything changed over night. All across the country, the haves and have nots stayed the same.”

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