Autumn by Ali Smith is the story of Daniel and Elisabeth and how their worlds intertwine. Daniel is 101-years-old. Elisabeth is a young woman. The setting is the United Kingdom and navigates the time directly during/after Brexit.
“She likes to read, she reads all the time, and she prefers to be reading several things at once, she says it gives her perspective.”
At moments this story was absolutely delightful. Other times, I felt completely confused. Fragments of the book take place during Brexit, others from the 60s, and moments trapped in dreams. This book was difficult to follow at points, but there were little pieces throughout the whole thing that made it worth it.
“Language is like poppies. It just takes something to churn the earth, round them up, and when it does, up comes the sleeping words, bright, red, fresh, blowing about.”
I found the relationship between Daniel and Elisabeth to be really sweet. They were next door neighbors and Elisabeth grew up with Daniel teaching her how to tap into her imagination. As they both grew older, Elisabeth read stories to Daniel while in the nursing home. It was a lovely sentiment of two old friends.
“The lifelong friends, he said. We sometimes wait a lifetime for them.”
I don’t know how much I can truly say about this book, because I’m still trying to figure it out. When I finished it, I actually said, “huh” out loud. Not necessarily in a negative connotation, more of a “well that was interesting.”
Novels like this are refreshing to me because they may not completely resonate, but they challenge me to see different styles of writing and story lines. Being a reader and writer requires variety in books.
This book is part one of a quartet. Winter and Spring have been published so I’m definitely interested in reading those during their respective seasons, because that sounds like a fun pairing.
“There’s always, there’ll always be, more story. That’s what story is.”