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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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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story
  • Mary
  • United States
  • 03-06-17

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

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!

1 of 1 people found this review 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 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

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.

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  • Elaine
  • New Jersey USA
  • 01-04-18

Beautifully written story

What did you love best about Autumn?

the beautiful metaphorical language

What was one of the most memorable moments of Autumn?

the last scene

What about Melody Grove’s performance did you like?

Grove excelled in her 3rd-person narrator and the female voices . Her rendition of male characters were good enough but might've been better.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I was not tempted to listen in one sitting because the story was so dense with metaphor and layers of meaning that I had to listen in shorter segments in order to absorb what I was hearing.

Any additional comments?

A beautifully written, affecting story, so dense with metaphor and layers of meaning that the listener has to pay close attention. There are a few dream sequences, and events skip around in time—many never fully explained but understood nevertheless. Smith's talents as a writer are undeniable. As much as I enjoyed, appreciated, and admired this book, I preferred her earlier work, "The Accidental," which I found more engaging.