Goodreads Review – Autumn by Ali Smith

AutumnAutumn by Ali Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t think any book has had me crying, then laughing again in such a short page span. It is beautifully written; a perfectly pitched political satire without risking cynicism. Smith has made this so current and relevant, capturing the atmosphere of political tensions after Brexit, reflecting the horrors of the refugee crisis so poignantly, and questioning how we look at and interpret the world using utterly beautiful explorations of art and literature.

The exploration of 1960’s pop art culture, as well as interwoven allusions to texts such as Brave New World, A Tale of Two Cities and The Tempest were seamless, incredibly clever and, on occasion thought-provoking, challenging the reader to reconsider their readings and interpretations – something which Daniel makes Elizabeth do throughout.

I particularly love that this book avoids being ‘doom and gloom’ or entirely apocalyptic despite the difficult political events it draws on for material. Despite it being ‘autumn’ and the awful state of increased racism and intolerance which pervade the novel, it maintains a sense of beauty and hope, rooted in the on-going theme of art.

It is a very ‘literary’ novel and so those hoping for strong plot or character may be disappointed, however it is a sad, beautiful, relevant and thought-provoking analysis of our society today. I am looking forward to Smith’s next instalment and only hope she can capture more recent political events, since Autumn was published, with the same touch.

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