Autumn

By: Ali Smith
Narrated by: Melody Grove
Series: Seasonal Quartet, Book 1
Length: 5 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (378 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the Man Booker-shortlisted and Baileys Prize-winning author of How to Be Both, a breathtakingly inventive new novel - about aging, time, love, and stories themselves - that launches an extraordinary quartet of books called Seasonal. Listeners love Ali Smith's novels for their peerless innovation and their joyful celebration of language and life. Her newest, Autumn, has all of these qualities in spades, and - good news for fans! - is the first installment in a quartet. Seasonal, comprised of four standalone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as are the seasons), explores what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative. Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy, and the color hit of Pop Art, Autumn is a witty excavation of the present by the past. The novel is a stripped-branches take on popular culture and a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, what harvest means.

©2016 Ali Smith (P)2016 W.F. Howes

Critic Reviews

"Ali Smith's moving, dreamlike novel, the first in a planned quartet, is made even lovelier by narrator Melody Grove's consummate narration.... Grove never loses the plot's twisting thread, confidently guiding the listener as the story moves from the present day to 1960s London to WWII France. She imbues her performance with warmth and humor that help ground the story, and her slight variations in tone and accent make the characters easily discernable." (AudioFile)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible use of language

Any additional comments?

I can't wait for the next book in this trilogy. The use of language by Smith is so intricate and consuming that it often made me just pause and smile and enjoy. The structure of this novel winds the reader into and around the world surrounding Elizabeth with so many fascinating tendrils of human relationships in time and over time. The mysteries presented are intriguing and beg for the second book to be released asap. I can't remember being more fully immersed in a novel.

11 people found this helpful

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A Book For Our Times

This is a lovely book. I loved reading the print version and listening to it as well on Audible. It mirrors the puzzlement of the xenophobia sweeping the West. But it’s told in a kind and often funny voice. Autumn is the best book I’ve read in years.

4 people found this helpful

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Lyrical and touching

Ali Smith has an evocative, imagistic way with words; not a plot-driven book but she captures a full spectrum of emotions in this “love” story between a woman and the courtly neighbor 70 years her senior.
Narrator is tops!

4 people found this helpful

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Couldn't get through this

There is just too much jumping around and no clear plot to me. Melody Grove is a great narrator but the book just isn't my cup of tea.

4 people found this helpful

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Idea-driven, not plot-driven

This book is artsy and poetic, but also warm, witty, and timely. I loved it, but if you want a good plot then this book probably isn't your jam.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing Audiobook!

I was worried about picking this one up as an audiobook but the narrator was just AMAZING! For some reason I kept associating her voice with Helena Bonham Carter’s ~ it had a whimsical feeling to it that made me think of her wide range of characters and made this story feel like a dream! The story itself is odd and disjointed, but full of rich underlying messages - and some explicitly put ones too - and great discussions on art, time, politics, life, etc! Overall, this book leaves you with a lot to think about and is something that will keep you thinking and make you want to talk and keep its claws in you!

3 people found this helpful

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Not for me

Someone else said in a review that this book was not for them. I totally agree. It might have been better in written format, but if would have heard “Elizabeth said” and “Daniel said” over and over one more time I would have ripped my hair out. I had to stop listening mid way through and I don’t think I have ever done that before with any book ever. It was whiney with no plot.

2 people found this helpful

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Frou frou

I guess this book has gotten some high ratings, because parts of it are written beautifully. The reader is left to infer much & that is not a bad thing; but because of that very thing, there isn’t much story. Yes, we all get frustrated with red tape & think our parents can be dolts & hopefully believe in women’s rights. & if we’re blessed,, we love an old person for their wisdom. But the book ends abruptly & all I could think was, Really?

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A wonderful first Fall read

"Autumn" is at once funny, warm, and deeply interesting, if you care about art, Sixties pop culture, or both. It's not about Autumn, or even set in Autumn, but by the end of the book the title makes perfect sense. This is a book populated by many strong female characters, zero toxic male characters, and more than one fully realized older character, which is rather unique these days. The writing is at once beautiful and quirky, and the narrator is talented, charming and perfectly suited to the story. A satisfying listen, from first page to last.

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Very great book

For me, Ali Smith is the real deal. Her writing keeps literature uplifted, alive, and rich.