Tag Archives: Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

Autumn by Ali Smith

Title: Autumn
Author: Ali Smith
Publisher: Anchor Books 
ISBN: 9781101969946
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 260
Source: Publisher 
Rating: 5/5

This was a reread for me this year. I had almost forgotten how brilliant this book is, and it is not just about the word-games or the wordplay that Smith uses to her advantage. It is also not about the latent humour that springs itself on you every five pages or so. It is about the writing. The hard-to-contain, the kind of writing that is not limited only to words, the kind of writing that makes you sit up and want to devour the book in one sitting. Autumn for me, is that kind of a book. The book that I will reread perhaps once more before this year ends. 

Autumn by Ali Smith is the first in a quartet. The season quartet as it is called. Autumn is the season of mists, of melancholy, of trees shedding leaves, of changing colours, of perhaps to see clearly, and make peace with the fact that life isn’t stationary. Autumn by Ali Smith is all of this and more. It is called “the Brexit novel”, but to me it is so much more. A lot more. Autumn is about friendship, love, art, identity, forgetfulness, ageing, of how much the world means to us, and how much we perhaps leave behind. 

It is essentially the story of Elisabeth, and her next-door neighbour Daniel Gluck, about 70 years her senior. The friendship that started when she was but a little girl, who is now a woman in her early 30s, and he is centenarian. She goes to meet him at the home for the aged. She reads to him. Constantly reading to him. There is a lot of back and forth between the present and the past in the book, which worked for me through and through. Elisabeth and Daniel’s relationship is charted through the years, of what he teaches her about art, beauty, and the nature of living. Of how she takes it all in. Of the unspoken beauty of friendship, that doesn’t come with any condition of age or time or wisdom. It just is. 

Autumn is energetic, brimming with wordplay, there is so much to it – the layers just keep peeling – perhaps also with every reread. It is also the story of Christine Keeler, of the Profumo fame, and how art plays a role in all of it. It is the story of how we function as humans. Ali Smith’s writing is perfect as far as I am concerned. No phrase or sentence is out of place, or not needed. Everything makes sense and sometimes nothing does. But that’s the beauty of her writing. You read. You pause. You savour what she serves, and you right back for a reread. I for one, cannot wait to now read Winter.

The River by Alessandro Sanna

The River by Alessandro Sanna Title: The River
Author: Alessandro Sanna
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
ISBN: 9781592701490
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 110
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

The River by Alessandro Sanna - Image 1

Another beautiful book read this month is “The River” by Alesanndro Sanna. It is so beautiful that maybe my review will also fall short in describing its beauty and grace. There are so many books out there I am sure that these adjectives might fit but for me this month till now at least it has been about “The River”.

The River by Alessandro Sanna - Image 2

Why do I like this book?

“The River” is all about seasons. The book starts in autumn and ends in summer and is beautifully depicted only through water-color paintings by the artist. There are words at the beginning of every chapter – but very few, giving you just the gist of what will come to be in the chapter. But you must pick up this book for the illustrations. They will leave you with a light heart and make you want to draw and paint and create something.

The River by Alessandro Sanna - Image 3

Alessandro Sanna draws subtle and yet meaningful connections between the geography, the landscape and the one thing that joins them all – The River. It is the kind of book that will get over very soon, but you would want to go back and start from the beginning. It is that good and beautiful.

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