A NovelPaperback - 2017
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.
From the critics
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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.
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
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.
“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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