Autumn and Winter by Ali Smith

Autumn is mellow, misty and a fruitful read! I enjoyed this novel: entertaining, challenging complex and multi-layered. Daniel Gluck is on the way out after an interesting and full life which we glimpse in fragments through his conversations with Elisabeth his young friend, mentee, or whatever. She has a neglecting and eccentric mother who has roller-coasted through life and has now found happiness with the energetic Zoe. Doesn’t sound much like the substance of a novel does it and Ali Smith at times veers towards what you might fall the social worker genre of literature but here she is at her best. The book is about lots of things but mostly about what a nasty society we have become since the establishment rolled us over in the 1960s, after the underwear of the toffs got glimpsed, so they burned the art and marginalised the women to restore some order. And that is where we are, folks, sanctimonious, self-deceiving and, hopefully, just about having the guts to give this the Booker! We didn’t of course!

I didn’t enjoy Winter quite as much but it is still a good political read and quite different from anything else!  I like the way Ali Smith writes and I like the slow burning plot and the characters. Poor Art who thinks someone like Charles Hawtrey was his dad, messed around by his aunt and his mother and not able to make it with the enigmatic Lux. Not a lot happens really, a bit like Winter and things just slow down. Not a lot is resolved either. You’re better off waiting for Spring!


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