Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That's what it felt like for Keats in 1819. How about Autumn 2016? The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer. Here's time at its most contemporaneous and its most cyclic. Here comes Autumn.
|Publisher||Clipper Audio; 2016|
HOW TO BE BOTH
This is a story about art's versatility. There's a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There's the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real - and all life's givens get given a second chance. Orange/Baileys Prize. Goldsmiths Prize.
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. The time we're living in is changing nature. Will it change the nature of story? Hope springs eternal.
In the present, Sacha knows the world's in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world's in meltdown - and the real meltdown hasn't even started yet. In the past, a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they're living on borrowed time. This is a story about people on the brink of change. Book 4 of Ali Smith's Seasonal quartet.
THERE BUT FOR THE
Imagine you have a dinner party and a friend of a friend brings a stranger to your house as his guest. He seems pleasant enough. Imagine that this stranger goes upstairs halfway through the dinner party and locks himself in one of your bedrooms and won't come out. Imagine you can't move him for days, weeks, months. If ever.
Winter? Bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone, so the old song goes. The shortest days, the longest nights. The trees are bare and shivering. The world shrinks; the sap sinks. But winter makes things visible. And if there's ice, there'll be fire. It's the season that teaches us survival.