This book has been patiently waiting for me for quite some time and I’m glad that I have finally gotten around to it.
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…
Since I bought this book I have wanted to start it in the season that it is written about and somehow have let a good couple of years go by, but I am glad I waited until it was actually Autumn and I feel I can appreciate it just as much now as I would have when it was first released.
For a start, I think a lot of the crises that this book addresses, Autumn was dubbed the first post-Brexit novel, and a lot of the issues that arose because of that are still very relevant in our current state, if anything it’s interesting to see how much and how little has changed with regards to how the general population acts and reacts to life-changing events.
As ever Ali Smith is a master wordsmith managing to evoke a range of sentiment with a few choice phrases, I always love delving into one of her books because I know I am going to be taken on a thought-provoking journey, where something written has a multitude of context. I love that Smith captured the atmosphere of the season and that its attributes permeated not just the setting but the characters and the observations in the book.
I think I was especially kept on my toes with this book because it wasn’t linear, we travel back and forth through the different stages of Daniel and Elisabeth’s lives, and sometimes the focus is on another situation that eventually links back to a part of their story. The fun is always in figuring out how it pieces together, I like that sometimes a snippet will feel like a bit of a tangent until I realise how it does relate to what has come before or what is soon to be told.
I loved the relationship between Elisabeth and Daniel, from many other perspectives it shouldn’t work but despite that, they have a bond and a way together that is just magical. I also very much enjoyed getting to know about Pauline Boty through Daniel and Elisabeth’s eyes and then getting to go and experience it for myself, if you are going to read the book wait until you’ve read it before looking her up.
Every time I read a book by Ali Smith I find myself a little more enamoured and I am looking forward to making my way through the rest of the seasonal quartet.