Autumn – Ali Smith


A young girl forges an unlikely – but life long –friendship with her elderly neighbour in post-Brexit England.

◉ “It is hard to describe this novel. It is a study of time and of place, as well as ageing and art and death. A Tale Of Two Cities and Brave New World are notably referenced a handful of times.

“Autumn is engaging and balanced, with a wonderful relationship built between the young Elisabeth and the elderly Daniel. And while it is readable and beautiful, it still has an element that makes it a little unobtainable –I’m not sure what that is. Definitely the most enjoyable Ali Smith book I have read, however.” – Rachel

◉ “I am celebrating the fact that I have read an Ali Smith book and almost been able to follow the storyline! I’ve come to the conclusion that she writes for people with a higher intellect than me and, with the exception of Hotel World, I have really struggled through her books in the past.

“The theme of this year’s Man Booker shortlist seems to be displacement/immigration and Autumn certainly fits the bill. Seeing how the main character’s mother in Autumn goes from being disinterested and ‘mumsy’ to a political vigilante when faced with the heavily patrolled border fences shows how even the most mild-mannered people can be pushed out of their comfort zone when faced with such immense change and upheaval.

“Like Exit West this book is ultimately a love story but Autumn’s characters are a little less orthodox. I enjoyed the core of this story, but the Ali Smithification of the writing distracted me too much from it.

“Previous Man-Booker shortlister this book reminded me most of: hmmm I guess another too-hard-to-read Ali Smith.” – Suzy

Published 2016
Hamish Hamilton
264 pages

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