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Winter By Ali Smith

Follow up to her sensational Autumn Smith's shapeshifting novel casts a warm wise merry and uncompromising eye over a post truth era in a story rooted in history and memory and with a taproot deep in the evergreens art and lo. 45 Stars God was dead to begin with And romance was dead Chivalry was dead Poetry the novel painting they were all dead and art was dead Theatre and cinema were both dead Literature was dead The book was dead Love was deadDeath was deadA great many things were deadSome though weren t or weren t dead yet Imagine being haunted by the ghosts of all these dead things Imagine being haunted by the ghost of a flower No imagine being haunted if there were such a thing as being haunted rather than just neurosis or psychosis by the ghost if there were such a thing as ghosts rather than just imagination of a flower this isn t a ghost story though it s the dead of winter when it happens a bright sunny post millennial global warming Christmas Eve morning Christ too dead and it s about real things really happening in the real world involving real people in real time on the real earth uh huh earth also dead Winters can be isolating leaving one feeling alone and desolate Depressed Fearful Too many hours of darkness And cold The landscape appears picked clean except where it is covered with snow It is natural an instinct perhaps to be filled with caution when surrounded by a cold uninviting world reshaped reformed redesigned perhaps even if it is the one we ve found ourselves in before in one sense or another Smith brings you into the season where life seems fragile where you re looking at a world coated in ice wrapped up in the fake news reports of the day and seats you at the family dinner table for a Christmas get together when Smith s four main characters include a son Art his mother Sophia his Aunt Sophia s sister Iris and his make believe pretend Croatian Canadian girlfriend Lux pretending to be his former girlfriend Charlotte who broke up with him right before they were due to leave for this delightful holiday with his MumThe thing about Art is that he lives or less in his own world oblivious to the world around him Art has a blog Art in Nature which he writes based on Google searches and stories he writes that are not strictly fact based about his nonexistent visits to these spots He also has a job working for a company researching copyright infringement When Art and Lux Charlotte arrive Lux whose very name speaks of illumination she attempts to lighten Sophia s life health and emotions and Sophia responds by sharing of herself her stories with Lux than she has with Art As Lux sees Sophia in not thriving condition she convinces Art that they should call Iris Sophia s sister The sisters had a very contentious relationship in the past but Lux is hopeful that Iris will help her sister The four of them not unlike the four seasons of the year each uniue and unlike the other connected by some tenuous thread that binds them together in this moment in time Tying this to Smith s Autumn are some of the political issues from the past and present time also from Autumn there are some direct connections some easily seen others are slightly hidden An artist that was a significant point of discussion in Autumn is referenced and another female artist features somewhat in Winter A postcard picture referenced There are also some historically relevant social causes discussed comparing the past to the present Brexit Trump the unavoidable topics if you re basing a story in this time and placeI really loved Ali Smith s Autumn and I was hoping that I would have similar feelings to those I d had with Autumn when it came time to read Winter I was not disappointed God help us every one US Pub Date 9 Jan 2018Many thanks for the ARC provided by First to Read

REVIEW Winter By Ali Smith

M house in Cornwall for Christmas will there be enough room for everyoneWinter It makes things visible In Ali Smith's Winter life force matches up to the toughest of the seasons In this second novel in her Seasonal cycle the. I ve so many thoughts I can t uite sum up the brilliance of Ali Smith s Winter other than by saying it s blown me away It s like a great conversation that makes you think all the thoughts I ve loved it I ll review properly when my brain stops fizzing from the immediacy of reading it

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Winter Bleak Frosty wind earth as iron water as stone so the old song goes And now Art's mother is seeing thingsCome to think of it Art's seeing things himselfWhen four people strangers and family converge on a fifteen bedroo. I d love to chat all day about the seasons but I ve work to do he saidWhen I first read this book I along with many others missed a key connection between it and the first volume of the uartet Autumn Reading Winter again now after just reading Autumn for the third time I firstly find it hard to believe we all missed that connection and secondly was delighted by how much knowing that connection changes the book for the better I won t in case of spoilers say what that connection is but it has to do with a link between one of the main characters in each book and knowing that link makes Winter a different beast altogether And far enjoyable because of thatAutumn was a collage similar to the art work of Pauline Boty who featured heavily Winter is also a collage retaining the same format of leaping around in time As Smith says That s one of the things stories and books can do they can make than one time possible at onceAnd this compression or overlaying of time seems to be a key idea in the booksBut the artist of choice in Winter is Hepworth famous for her statues with holes in them So it is perhaps appropriate that Art one of the main characters says at one point So I think of him and I think of the word father and it s kind of like there s a cut out empty space in my head I uite like it I can fill it any way I like I can leave it emptyAnd we as readers who know something about Art that he does not know himself can relate to what Smith has someone say about Hepworth Yes he says and she does that Hepworth I think puts the holes through what she makes because she wants people to think about exactly what you just said time and ancient things but also because she really just wants them to want to touch what she makes you know to be reminded about things that are uite physical sensory immediate he saysArt s statement about his father means something to us or at least something differentHaving read Autumn and Winter back to back over the last 2 3 days I am inordinately excited about the upcoming release of Spring which is why I have re read these first two because my re reads have definitely given me of picture of what Smith is doing overall in her uartet the way she is compressing and overlaying time the way she is drawing parallels between past and present the way and because the brief comments I have seen about Spring I am trying to avoid them but some sneak through suggest this starts to come to fruition in the next volume ORIGINAL REVIEW Ok so I am biased and it may be that Ali Smith gets an extra star simply for being Ali Smith But even then when you stop to consider what Smith has done in this second book of her seasonal uartet it is breathtaking Ali Smith has her own uniue style Given her very obvious love for Dickens and all things Dickensian I wanted to say her style is Smithsonian but someone else has already appropriated that word No one writes like Smith with such joy in wordsAt the Man Booker short list event in Cheltenham Smith spoke about the difficulties of time in the novel In a piece of music several people can sing at the same time and about different topicstimes if that s what the composer wants In a novel we can only read one set of words at a time And this is a frustration for some novelistsIn Winter Smith plays with this idea of time in a novel This makes for a fairly complicated structure to the book which consists of multiple flashbacks and flash forwards It can be tricky to keep track of all the different threads being covered That s one of the things stories and books can do they can make than one time possible at onceWell they can when Smith writes themWe are dealing with four main characters Sophia her sister Iris her son Art Arthur and a girl Art has paid to pretend to be his girlfriend for Christmas with his mother Lux Art needs a girlfriend because he has just broken up with Charlotte who was supposed to be spending Christmas with him at his mother s but she is now instead sabotaging his Twitter feed to such an extent that he dares not turn on his phoneLux is a fascinating character somewhat reminiscent of Amber in The Accidental who arrives and disrupts a family occasion Lux is of course both the bringer of light and a soap And in this story the girl called Lux brings both illumination and cleansing She is not British but she came to the UK because of Shakespeare s play Cymbeline Cymbeline he says The one about poison mess bitterness then the balance coming back The lies revealed The losses compensatedAnd that s what Winter is about Sophia and Iris have fallen out and not spoken for many years Art has broken up with Charlotte Then Lux happensAnd in the mix with this story of a family gathering Christmas is in Winter and Christmas is about family gatherings Smith flashes back and forwards to earlier times in Sophia s and Iris s history Primarily amongst many other historical references she visits the Greenham Common protests and pulls them forward to todayIt seems to me that one of the things Smith is trying to do in her uartet is ground or embed the events and attitudes of our current time in their underlying history She wants to unite now and then because now means very little unless you understand then In Winter now very much is now we cover events up to the summer of 2017Brexit and its implications are still part of the story Christmas and no room at the inn is paralleled with UK and no room Trump is part of the storyAnd as with Pauline Boty in Autumn there is a female artist In Winter this artist is perhaps mentioned fewer times or in less detail Update this comment comes from my ignorance of Hepworth some basic research after reading shows that she is actually present if not named from the very beginning but her role in the overall aim of the story is very clear She is Barbara Hepworth Yes he says and she does that Hepworth I think puts the holes through what she makes because she wants people to think about exactly what you just said time and ancient things but also because she really just wants them to want to touch what she makes you know to be reminded about things that are uite physical sensory immediate he saysHepworth s work is like what Smith is aiming for and for me achieving in the way she seeks to unite past and present In a comment on Hepworth there is a uote that it seems to me applies eually to Smith s writing She walks round the sculpture It makes you walk round it it makes you look through it from different sides see different things from different positions It s also like seeing inside and outside something at onceAnd also in a comment that could apply eually to Smith s writing we read of Kepler Kindred means family what I m saying is he thought that truth and time are sort of related family to each otherAnd And he was a man who paid things attention up close as well as far awayWinter contains far meditation on the season it is named after than Autumn did That s what winter is an exercise in remembering how to still yourself then how to come pliantly back to life again the shift the reversal from increase of darkness to increase of light revealed that a coming back of light was at the heart of midwinter eually as much as the waning of lightI could write for hours about this book but I cannot do it justice and the best thing is if you read it for yourself Everyone should read it especially the final uarter which made me laugh and cry in eual measure One final uote which really made me laugh The man who wrote the dictionary Johnson Not Boris The opposite of Boris A man interested in the meanings of words not one whose interests leave words meaninglessAnd I haven t even talked about the floating head or the floating coastline


About the Author: Ali Smith

Ali Smith is a writer born in Inverness Scotland to working class parents She was raised in a council house in Inverness and now lives in Cambridge She studied at Aberdeen and then at Cambridge for a PhD that was never finished In a 2004 interview with writing magazine Mslexia she talked briefly about the difficulty of becoming ill with chronic fatigue syndrome for a year and how it for



10 thoughts on “Winter By Ali Smith

  1. says:

    I’d love to chat all day about the seasons but I’ve work to do he saidWhen I first read this book I along with many others missed a key connection between it and the first volume of the uartet Autumn Reading Winter again now afte

  2. says:

    You're reading the book about the leaves again It's not the same book Same cover image different seasonSo no leaves floating about in this one?No leaves But lots of floatersLike eye floaters?Those and othersYou do like your enigmasPlastic floating across the oceans is no allusive enigma it's very realOh right serious floaters I won't make the joke that wasOr floaters as in people with no fixed place to sleepAnd this bo

  3. says:

    Winter is the second book I’ve read by Ali Smith Public Library and Other Stories was the first one Both times I had to recalibrate my brain according to the following rules in order to enjoy the reading experience Slow down – the book i

  4. says:

    This isn’t a ghost story though it’s the dead of winter when it happens a bright sunny post millennial global warming Christmas Christmas too dead and it’s about real things really happening in the real world involving real people in real time on the real earth uh huh earth also dead And here’s another ve

  5. says:

    OK I surrender Upgraded to 5 stars as Ali Smith has made complete fools of us all myself includedEveryone spent

  6. says:

    ‪I’ve so many thoughts I can’t uite sum up the brilliance of Ali Smith’s Winter other than by saying it’s blown me away It’s like a great conversation that makes you think all the thoughts I’ve loved it ‬I’ll review properly when my brain stops fizzing from the immediacy of reading it

  7. says:

    uite enjoyed this though for me it lacked the urgency inspiration and poetry of Autumn At times it read like an inferior version of the same novel Perhaps though my bad for reading this immediately after finishing Autumn I've got a feeling a six month time lapse would have helped me enjoy it Centrepiece of the novel is a Christmas lunch I

  8. says:

    Martin Amis said that there seems to be a reuisite period of time before one can write about historical events especially

  9. says:

    45 Stars ”God was dead to begin with“And romance was dead Chivalry was dead Poetry the novel painting they w

  10. says:

    It has taken me a while to get round to this one although its predecessor Autumn was one of my favourite books on last year's Booker list I had too much else to read when this one was released in hardback The new paperback made this an ideal time to catch upIf anything it is even better than Autumn just as topical but with a tighter plot I will start with a uote that for me could eually apply to Ali Smith hers

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