SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
A once-in-a-generation series, Ali Smith's Seasonal Quartet is a tour-de-force about love, time, art, politics, and how we live now.
'Her best yet, a dazzling hymn to hope, uniting the past and present with a chorus of voices' Observer
What unites Katherine Mansfield, Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare, Rilke, Beethoven, Brexit, the present, the past, the north, the south, the east, the west, a man mourning lost times, a woman trapped in modern times?
Spring. The great connective.
With an eye to the migrancy of story over time, and riffing on Pericles, one of Shakespeare's most resistant and rollicking works, Ali Smith tells the impossible tale of an impossible time. In a time of walls and lockdown Smith opens the door.
The time we're living in is changing nature. Will it change the nature of story?
Hope springs eternal.
Discover all four instalments: Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. Ali Smith's new novel, Companion piece, is available now.
'An astonishing accomplishment and a book for all seasons' Independent
'Smith is a masterful storyteller . . . Savour it' Evening Standard
'Infectious in its energy and warmth' Daily Telegraph
Like its two predecessors in Smith's acclaimed Seasonal Quartet (Autumn and Winter), this dynamic novel captures the many turmoils of life in the contemporary U.K. through ecstatic language and indirect narrative collisions. The first third, set mostly on a Scottish train platform, concerns Richard Lease, an over-the-hill TV and film director mourning his recently deceased collaborator, Paddy. Rife with nuanced reflections on the nature of art and mourning, Richard's ruminative section is the book's most immediate and engaging. After Richard lowers himself into the path of an oncoming train, readers meet his would-be rescuer, Brit, a security guard at a migrant detention facility. Brit has been lured into an impromptu journey by Florence, a pseudo-messianic young girl seemingly capable of inspiring empathy in even the darkest of hearts. The three mismatched characters are soon traveling together, on their way to an old battlefield where the violences of yesteryear and the present day will converge. As was the case with Autumn and Winter, the novel's setting is its foremost strength and increasingly enervating flaw, leading to writing that alternately astounds and exasperates. About three-quarters of the way through the third quarter of this series, the book's most memorable character, Richard, provides a relevant description of the whole enterprise, a response for every season: "Gimmicky, but impressive all the same.")