Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Autumn by Ali Smith

"The lifelong friends, he said.  We sometimes wait a lifetime for them."

Post brexit fiction doesn't sound particularly inviting does it? Don't be fooled by those style of reviews, this novel is fabulous. It is about an unlikely friendship, a shared love of obscure art, the formative influences of our youth and the prospect of the end of life. The novel meanders time wise and reminded me of a vivid, engaging dream. The writing has an economy which is reminiscent of poetry, it tantalisingly draws you in, touching your emotions and spurring you on to completion.
Elizabeth's relationship with her much older neighbour, Daniel, is really intriguing. Theirs is a cerebral connection that transcends the exterior of youth and age, rather it is a meeting of inquisitive minds and that is a beautiful and inspiring thing. Their interactions reminded me of all the people in my life who have opened my mind to fascinating fiction, art, music and different ways of looking at the world. Daniel is in start contrast with Elizabeth's mother, who is fearful and more concerned with outer appearances. The characters seemed so visceral to me, which is even more of an achievement when you consider this is not a particularly long novel, that speaks to the artistry of the writer. Deservedly on the long list for the Man Booker prize - although unfortunately not the winner - Autumn promises to be the first in a series of four seasonally themed offerings and I for one can't wait to enjoy the rest of that literary year.

5 out of 5 lives are a work of art.

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