Monday, November 6, 2017

Book Review | AUTUMN by Ali Smith

AUTUMN begins in a dream-like state. Daniel Gluck is dead. He supposed he is in heaven because he looks young again and naked. It is as if rebirth took place by the seashore and he is the only one who survived. The truth is, the time has finally caught up with Daniel. He is reliving some old memories, and escape is inevitable at this state.
Is there never any escaping the junkshop of the self?
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Demand is experiencing the hard reality of the bureaucratic world. Her passport application was rejected: “Your face is the wrong size… The correct size in the photograph submitted, the man says, is between 29 millimeters and 34 millimeters. Yours falls short by 5 millimeters.” Apparently, there are correct stipulations in life, measurements that we have to abide by, like sizes, dates, and time. Very unlike in death.

This is my first Ali Smith, and I find myself in a difficulty here, describing how her writing works, or how this book worked for me. To call her wonderful seems underrated. To pronounce her difficult, on the other hand, seems obtuse. And yet, I find her both wonderful and difficult.

I find her words fluid, yet I don’t know where it will lead me. They seem to make no sense until it gets me where it needs me to be, where it is profound and unblinking. Smith can move from poetic, to conversational, and matter-of-factly funny. At one point, the book tells about the Brexit and the chaos it brought to the English nation. Still, in a succession of recollections, it tells about life in its minute form. Autumn is the paradoxical view of death and birth, of letting go and seeding. It tells us that time is not really our enemy, but not exactly our friend either.

Autumn is the first book in the Seasonal Quartet, followed by Winter.

Book details:
Title:  Autumn
Author:  Ali Smith
Publications: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Pantheon, 07 Feb 2017
Genre: Literary Fiction / Women's Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

*Thank you, Pantheon and Netgalley for the review copy.

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