Autumn by Ali Smith

Autumn

Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That's what it felt like for Keats in 1819. How about Autumn 2016? Daniel is a century 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. Ali Smith's new novel is a meditation on a world growing ever more border...


Details Autumn

TitleAutumn
ISBN9780241207000
Author
Release DateOct 20th, 2016
PublisherHamish Hamilton
LanguageEnglish
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Novels
Rating

Reviews Autumn

  • Adina
    2017-09-14
    I don’t know. I don’t know what to write about Autumn. I don’t even know what I’ve read. What was I supposed to get from this book, what was the purpose? Was it a Brexit novel? I don’t think so. It does talk some about Brexit. But it also talks about a strange friendship between a little girl (presently grown up) and an old man. Odd conversations those two had. And about a dubious Pop Artist. There were also a few weird, moderately fun,...
  • Ilse
    2016-11-21
    This is EnglandAutumn is to be the first instalment of ‘a seasonal quartet’ that Ali Smith plans to write - a cycle ‘exploring the subjective experience of time, questioning the nature of time itself'. Triggered to read it by the title – autumn is my favourite season – this first instalment was a wondrous introduction to Smith’s prose for me, so I eagerly look forward to the next parts now.Autumn is a playful, multi-layered and at tim...
  • Diane S ☔
    2016-12-10
    Ali Smith is not an easy author to read and yet her words and thoughts are beautiful. If you like a linear plot, you will not find it here, though it is mostly set in the period after Brexit, it goes back and forth in time. To a friendship between a young girl and an elderly man, a man who had quite a past, which is slowly uncovered. The thoughts expressed about Brexit are the same many are expressing here in the states after our recent election....
  • Barry Pierce
    2017-07-29
    Hailed as the first post-Brexit novel, in Autumn Ali Smith proves to us all that she is probably the greatest writer currently working in the United Kingdom. The fact that this novel was published a mere four months after the disastrous Brexit vote but yet analyses its aftermath as a central theme shows a turnaround that is nearly insane. Smith must have practically vomited this novel into her word processor, which makes its utter flawlessness ...
  • Hannah Greendale
    2017-08-09
    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.
  • Hugh
    2016-10-06
    My fourth book from the Booker longlist, this is another that, like Reservoir 13, would have made a worthy winner. At the time of its release this book was billed as the first Brexit novel, but there is so much more to it than that. update 19 Oct - Sadly, and yet again, Ali Smith did not win, but I was very impressed by her performance and the way she encouraged Emily Fridlund and Fiona Mozley at the Nottingham shortlist readings event, which I a...
  • Cheri
    2017-09-07
    "April come she willWhen streams are ripe and swelled with rainMay she will stayResting in my arms againJune she'll change her tuneIn restless walks she'll prowl the night" --“April Come She Will” lyrics by Paul Simon"It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times."Traveling back and forth through time, the past to the present, from Elisabeth’s childhood and meeting her new neighbor Daniel Gluck, to the brink of the political climate ...
  • Hannah
    2017-11-27
    My thoughts are all over the place for this book – maybe fitting because this is what this book is as well: all over the place. There is undeniable brilliance here: sentences so profound they made me stop in my tracks, word plays so wonderful I had to read them twice, musing on a great number of important things. It comes as no surprise that Ali Smith is a genius. But for some reasons these sparks of brilliance never came together for a coheren...
  • Dianne
    2017-09-17
    I'm not sure I can do justice to reviewing this or explaining what it is about - I suspect each time it's read, a new layer is revealed and it becomes something quite different. Let me just say the writing and wordplay is superb! Imaginative, perceptive, unexpectedly quite funny in places, and tender in others. I'd say the resounding theme in this book is loss - summer gives way to autumn in the seasons and in our lives, but there is beauty to be...
  • Trish
    2017-11-03
    It is November and outside my front door roses are still blooming. Their color is a deep rich clear pink. They look better than they did in the dry heat of summer.Smith’s first novel in her proposed quartet of volumes is an utter delight. I’d never encountered her voice before but when I got to the end, I looked again at the beginning. Just as well, because I had forgotten that Daniel speaks, briefly, before the story gets picked up by “his...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2017-07-31
    I was going to save this to read in the autumn, but then it was included in the Man Booker Prize Long List so I moved it up.This is described as a post-Brexit novel, and it does take place in that world and mentions it a few times in a few different ways, but more in the way that all of us continue in the world as it changes around us. "...I'm tired of the news. I'm tired of the way it makes things spectacular that aren't, and deals so simplistic...
  • Paul
    2017-10-08
    This is not only the first of four novels based on the seasons, but it has also been acclaimed as the first Brexit novel. This makes it very British in some ways and the feelings in the country and the reactions to the vote form part of the novel, as in this much quoted piece:“All across the country, there was misery and rejoicing. All across the country, what had happened whipped about by itself as if a live electric wire had snapped off a pyl...
  • Seemita
    2017-01-12
    [A formidable 3.5][Originally appeared here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/li...]She has done it in the past; and she does it again here. Ali Smith’s fixation on, and a visible mastery of, story-telling across timeline, in no particular order, shines in this experimental, breezy novel as well.Centred around the 30-something Elisabeth Demand and her centenarian friend, Daniel Gluck, Autumn is a long, vibrant, occasionally melancholic, somet...
  • Simon
    2017-11-15
    I really enjoyed Autumn, which is possibly Ali Smith’s most accessible book yet, however I wasn’t as wholly blown away by it as most people. I mean it’s still BRILLIANT because it’s Ali Smith. I adored the story of Daniel and Elisabeth over the years, I loved how Elizabeth’s mother developed. I agreed politically on Brexit and her observations of the good and bad... the art bit though just didn’t feel needed and dragged me away from w...
  • William1
    2018-01-25
    Heaps of spine-tingling narrative pleasure. One feels one’s short hairs standing on end while reading. Horripilating, is that the word? Like migraine aura but far more fun. Autumn’s a book about enlightened values versus what we’ve been getting lately from the mobocracy. No need to mention the B word or the T word here. Most things I read, the author’s point of view does not reflect my values, though he or she may come close. Quite the op...
  • Matthew Quann
    2017-07-27
    I finished this novel a few days ago, but put off the review. To speak quite frankly, I think Autumn is a novel that is a touch too smart for me to properly wrap my head around. Smith's prose flips, twists, jumps, and skitters across the page with vivacity and wit, but also left me feeling overwhelmed with stylistic experimentation. So, I turned to interviews with Smith and reviews others have written to better understand what I had just read.It ...
  • Lark Benobi
    2017-09-16
    The novel seems to want to present me with all the sadness in the world, and all the bleakness of recent history, and it seemed determined to remind me of all the meannesses that people can heap upon one another (some of it through neglect) (some of it through evil acts)--and yet even as the novel forced me to face these things, at its center was a beautiful hope. The novel is a paean to the power of language, and to the mystery of human interact...
  • PattyMacDotComma
    2016-10-31
    4.5★ (Read and reviewed February 28, 2017)Oh my, what to make of this book? I’ve not read Ali Smith before, and I can’t recall anything that was quite the mix of poetry, history, art, family dynamics, and philosophy – not to mention politics. I love her writing – I would have enjoyed the Pop Art more if I’d had any idea who the artist was (link below). And I’m overloaded with politics and populism and Brexit, so less of that would h...
  • Teresa
    2016-11-25
    4.5Death, Dickens, refugees, trees, fear, old age, Brexit, friendship, Shakespeare, love, lies, Christine Keeler, art, fences, stories, Pauline Boty (lots of the lovely Pauline Boty), seeing, Keats, disillusionment, rebirth, Ovid, exclusion, women, awakening.(Even 'Trump' is a one-word sentence within the novel, though I hesitate to add it to the list, except to note that it adds to the contemporaneity. Perhaps she means the verb and it's an impe...
  • Emma
    2016-10-14
    At first I couldn't be sure whether I loved or hated this short novel. Ali Smith's language is like a maze for the mind. It's both stilted and beautiful, a stream of consciousness that reworks the reader's own thoughts into a new pattern. It feels like a freeing of the consciousness but also like a new set of walls. It takes you outside your own experience of time, but forces you into someone else's, stating with a character's death dreamscape. I...
  • Maxwell
    2016-10-05
    Nobody writes like Ali Smith. That's absolutely my favorite thing about her books. Once you start reading you remember just how witty, observant, and playful she is, and how that comes through so clearly through her writing style. It's no different in Autumn, the first in a quartet of seasonal novels the author has begun, musing on art, politics, and the tumultuous nature of life in all its different seasons.This first installment is clearly a po...
  • MJ Nicholls
    2016-11-20
    Ali Smith is a prolific story writer, critic, and playwright, but her novels alone have blasted her into the mesosphere of critical adulation, and this first part of an exciting seasonal quartet furthers her familiar brand of humorous, gentle, playful, and bedazzling brilliance. Timehopping across the century, the novel focuses on the adopted father relationship between an art lecturer and an enigmatic former dancer, lyricist, and sixties art sce...
  • Roger Brunyate
    2017-06-27
    Every Story Tells a PictureAt the heart of Ali Smith's seemingly chaotic but actually tightly-organized new novel is a love relationship, between a thirtyish art lecturer, Elisabeth Demand, and a 101-year-old man, Daniel Gluck. Their love was born over two decades earlier, when Elisabeth's mother roped in her elderly neighbor to look after her daughter. And what a baby-sitter Daniel turns out to be: playful, irreverent, respectful, and always int...
  • Gill
    2016-10-15
    December 2016I re-read this at the start of December and still think about it. I've upgraded it to 5 stars.'Autumn' by Ali Smith4.5 stars/ 9 out of 10From the opening sentence (which is referential to the opening of one of Dickens' novels), to the end of this novel, Ali Smith has created a beautiful story which can be read on many levels. Ostensibly it is the story of the friendship between a young woman and an elderly man, that started when the ...
  • Paul Fulcher
    2016-10-25
    Update: Shortlisted for the Booker and it would be a wonderfully worthy winner - and the novel has aged better than I had predicted - if anything as the written-as-you-read-it Brexit autumn leaves have faded, the evergreen parts of the text show through.Pauline Boty with her, now lost, painting Scandal 63 based on (a variation of) the famous Christine Keeler photographic portrait by Lewis Morley.For my full review of Autumn please see the excelle...
  • Michael
    2017-10-08
    This is a rewarding story of friendship over the long haul, the kind that seems to stand outside time. The relationship is between a female art historian and an elderly family neighbor, a man who listened to and empowered her from starting around age 10. We dip into the past of their connection as we experience Elisabeth in our present communing with her buddy Daniel in his lucid moments at a nursing home during his final fade with dementia at ag...
  • Susan
    2016-10-10
    This short novel is the first in a seasonal quartet – each a standalone book, but interconnected. I was listening to a podcast, “Books and Authors” set during the Edinburgh Festival, and somebody mentioned Ali Smith reading from her new work, which mentioned Brexit shortly after the result had been announced. That was this work and Smith perfectly captures that strange atmosphere which pervaded the country during that time. Indeed, every co...
  • Vanessa
    2017-09-24
    I waited almost a year to read this book, and I'm glad to say I was not disappointed. Although Ali Smith is a writer that I have struggled with over the years, Autumn is probably my favourite book I've read of hers so far. Not only is the hardcover edition an absolute joy to behold and read from, it's also a poignant and timely story that has characters who fly off the page and moments of beautifully written atmospheric observation.Set mainly dur...
  • Helene Jeppesen
    2017-12-11
    This book didn’t capture me as much as some of the other Ali Smith books out there. Not that “Autumn” is not relevant to me or to this world today, because this is in many ways a book about Brexit and our view on people and the world. It’s about how things were in the past and how things are now, and it’s about the seasons changing (for the worse?). After all, the book starts out “It was the worst of times, It was the worst of times...
  • Peter Boyle
    2017-09-10
    It goes without saying that Ali Smith is one of the most inventive and original literary voices around. But she is often a writer whose artistry I admire more than the content of her work. Autumn is no exception, it is a swirling pool of sparkling wordplay and sharp observations in search of a plot.Daniel Gluck is an English centenarian, sleeping deeply in a hospital bed. At his side is Elisabeth Demand, a 32-year-old art lecturer. They became fi...