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Autumn

Hardcover $24.95

Feb 07, 2017 | 272 Pages

Ebook $12.99

Feb 07, 2017 | 272 Pages

  • Hardcover $24.95

    Feb 07, 2017 | 272 Pages

  • Ebook $12.99

    Feb 07, 2017 | 272 Pages

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Praise

“Ali Smith has a beautiful mind. I found this book to be unbearably moving in its playful, strange, soulful assessment of what it means to be alive at a somber time. She is speaking about sand, but she might be talking about Western civilization when she praises the ‘array of colors of even the pulverized world.’ . . . I have no early quibble with the novelist Sebastian Barry’s comment that she may be ‘Scotland’s Nobel laureate-in-waiting.’. . . There’s a bit of a Harold and Maude thing going on here. . . . Autumn has a loose structure, almost like that of a prose poem. This form is perfect for Smith, because her mind will go where it wants to go. And where her mind goes, you want to follow. . . . Shrewd and dreamy, serious-but-not-solemn. . . . Spring can really hang you up the most, but for now I am struck by, and stuck on, Autumn.”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
 
“Could Scottish writer Ali Smith be J.D. Salinger’s natural heir? It’s not as preposterous as it sounds. Not since Salinger’s plucky English orphan, Esmé, soothed an American sergeant’s no-longer-intact faculties at the end of World War II has a writer so artfully and heartrendingly captured the two-way lifeline between preternaturally wise children (mainly girls) and young-at-heart gentle souls (mainly men) who forge special friendships that have nothing predatory or Lolita-ish about them. . . . Autumn again knits together an astonishing array of seemingly disparate subjects, including mortality, unconventional love, Shakespeare’s Tempest, a rhyming advertisement jingle, and the xenophobia underlying both Nazism and current populist neo-nationalism. . . . Smith is better at making tight connections than most airlines. . . . Free spirits and the lifeforce of art—along with kindness, hope, and a readiness ‘to be above and beyond the foul even when we’re up to our eyes in it’—are, when you get down to it, what Smith champions in this stirring novel.”
—Heller McAlpin, NPR

“Delights in puns and lyric reveries. For a book about decline and disintegration, Autumn remains irrepressibly hopeful about life, something ‘you worked to catch, the intense happiness of an object slightly set apart from you.’”
—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
 
“[Elisabeth and Daniel] are each other’s favorite people in the world, even though their paths cross only intermittently and he is 69 years old than she is. . . . Their extraordinary friendship forms the moral center of this beautiful, subtle work, the seventh novel by Smith, who consistently produces some of Britain’s most exciting, ambitious and moving writing. . . . Smith’s writing is fearless and nonlinear, exploring the connectivity of things: between the living and the dead, the past and the present, art and life. She conveys time almost as it if is happening all at once, like Picasso trying to record an image from every angle simultaneously. . . . Smith’s writing is light and playful, deceptively simple, skipping along like a stone on the surface of a lake, brimming with humanity and bending, despite everything, toward hope. . . . The best parts in Autumn, the most moving parts, the transcendent parts, come during Elisabeth and Daniel’s conversations about words, art, life, books, the imagination, how to observe, how to be. Theirs is a conversation that begins mid-paragraph and never ends.”
—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times Book Review
 
“[Smith’s] risk-taking, convention-defying fiction resembles a dizzying high-wire act performed above stiffer competition. Autumn is another breathless feat. . . . It engages acutely and beautifully with topical concerns and perennial issues. . . . Smith muses on art, literature and memory, plus the transience of life and the horror of Brexit. Some of her meditations are imbued with autumnal tones and textures (melancholy, regret, nostalgia); others are flecked with wit. As ever, Smith regales us with endless wordplay. . . . Smith’s most substantial components speak volumes with poetic intensity and lucidity about an enduring companionship, a fractured Great Britain, the tragedy of aging and the cyclical nature of time. . . . Autumn is the first installment of Smith’s ‘Seasonal’ quartet. If this brilliantly inventive and ruminative book is representative of what is to come, then we should welcome Smith’s winter chill whatever the season.”
—Malcolm Forbes, Minneapolis Star Tribune

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