Book: Autumn by Ali Smith

autumn ali smith

Autumn by Ali Smith is one of those books that you can’t have missed around. It was put front centre in most book shops, and graced the feeds of many an Instagrammer.

Having remembered how much I love reading over the Christmas holidays, I’ve been trying to read a lot more this year, and stocked up on a number of books I’ve been meaning to read – one of with was Autumn.

The story follows Daniel, an elderly man, and Elizabeth, the girl who grew up next door to him. Jumping around the decades, we have snapshots of early 90s Britain, pre-internet art scenes, and then present-day Brexit Britain. There’s a particularly relatable chapter about what it felt like just after the vote.

Between the jumps back and forth in time, we also see trippy scenes of Daniel – who is close to the end of his life – in various situations. The book even opens with him on some sort of afterlife beach with a mouth full of sand.

I loved the nostalgia I got from the book. Elizabeth is just one year older than me, so when we go back in time to see her, I can remember what it was like being the same age at the same time. I also loved the relationship between Elizabeth and Daniel; it’s complicated, and yet really sweet in places. Every time I finished a chapter I hoped that it would be another one with the both of them, so I could learn more about their time together.

Art features heavily in the book, and all of it is real life pieces from real life artists. I kept putting the book down to google what a particular piece would look like, and enjoyed learning a bit more about well-known (though apparently not to me) works of art.

There’s one downside of the book, which I think are very particular to me. I love some Murakami books, but really hate the ones that go a bit wacky; I remember reading Sputnik Sweetheart and thinking it was an amazing love story until it turned a bit parallel universe-y. I feel the same with Autumn; I really disliked the chapters where we saw Daniel in his different trippy scenarios. There’s one where he’s a tree and it honestly took me twice as long to read that chapter as I couldn’t easily follow what was going on – I guess that’s the point.

The writing style is very unique – almost like poetry, and while it did make it slightly harder to read in places (especially the trippy chapters), I think it was really fitting for the world the words were painting. It had been written in plain prose it wouldn’t have been nearly as enjoyable.

I highly recommend Autumn, and can’t read the next in the series.

If you’ve read it too, please let me know in the comments!

Comments

  1. I haven’t read this but your review has made me add it to my to-read list – like you, I’m not a huge fan of books that go a little odd in places but will give this one a try, sounds like it has a lot more positives that outweigh those elements!

    C x
    http://happygoluckycat.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Charlotte says:

      It’s deffo worth it – the weird parts are just a couple of times, and the story outweighs these for me. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts once you’ve read it!

  2. Sputnik Sweetheart!!! Memories of being a teenager and reading Murakami have just come flooding back!!

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