Ali Smith Autumn – a review.
I have a confession to make. Prior to purchasing Autumn I had never read any of Ali smith work, I had, however, read wonderful things about her online, seen many a book tuber joyously delight in her writing, and been drawn gawpingly at the twitter buzz which surrounded this books release. When this happens it can be extremely difficult for the author to live up to the swirling hype that surrounds them and often you are left crestfallen or betrayed when the author does not live up to the baseless expectations you have developed via gathering molecules of information on social media.
This is not one of those books. Ali Smith is not one of those Authors.
Autumn focuses on two main characters Elisabeth and Daniel. two friends who in some many ways shouldn’t be friends. Daniel is a century old and Elizabeth was born in 1984, This is one of my favourite aspects of the book. Smith manages to make their friendship seem genuine and most importantly it makes sense. The interactions between the two are brilliant and do nothing more than lift your soul.
Elisabeth herself is subtly hilarious and her numerous interactions with clerical staff at the post office and a doctor’s surgery had me genuinely chuckling, Elisabeth’s conversations are conversations I would love to have but perhaps I am never quite brave enough to say the ballsy things she does.
I also enjoyed how relevant and present this book is. Set in the oncoming tide of Brexit, it’s refreshing to be able to call upon those feelings that are so still so stingingly raw. Smith Writes ““All across the country, people felt it was the wrong thing. All across the country, people felt it was the right thing. All across the country, people felt they’d really lost. All across the country, people felt they’d really won. All across the country, people felt they’d done the right thing and other people had done the wrong thing.” . Smith does not take sides in the debate instead illustrates the effect it has had on Elisabeth’s world. As she strolls through her mother’s hometown she see’s “Go Home” scrawled on a neighbours wall and a group of Spanish tourist being harassed. It’s a striking familiar world, in which the pool of emotion to draw from is still full.
Finally, I was fascinated by how much of the story is left to the imagination of the reader, there is no physical description of any of the characters, meaning we are left to our own devices when deciphering their identities, this paired with Elisabeth’s constant hindrance of having to provide evidence of her being, shows us that identity is an important theme within this novel.
I cannot recommend Autumn highly enough, I often struggle with novels which are not very plot driven, however, the poetic writing burst’s with beautiful imagery and characters which provide ample amount of intrigue on their own, mean there is little need for them to be doing back- flips and breaking into banks.
Read Autumn, you won’t regret it.