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Winter - Seasonal Quartet (Hardback)
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Winter - Seasonal Quartet (Hardback)

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£16.99
Hardback 336 Pages
Published: 02/11/2017
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In an exclusive interview with Ali Smith about Autumn, we talk about the joy of a novel swift in its making and what the seasons mean for her.

Shortlisted for The Orwell Prize 2018

The dazzling second novel in Ali Smith's essential Seasonal Quartet - from the Baileys Prize-winning, Man Booker-shortlisted author of Autumn and How to be Both.

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 summer's leaves? Dead litter. The world shrinks; the sap sinks.

But winter makes things visible. And if there's ice, there'll be fire.

In Ali Smith's Winter, lifeforce matches up to the toughest of the seasons. In this second novel in her acclaimed Seasonal cycle, the follow-up to her sensational Autumn, Smith's shape-shifting quartet of novels casts a merry eye over a bleak post-truth era with a story rooted in history, memory and warmth, its taproot deep in the evergreens: art, love, laughter. It's the season that teaches us survival.

Here comes Winter.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241207024
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 477 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 31 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Cleverly constructed and elegantly written. It's both an engaging human story and a place for wider topical observations. Bring on Spring - Evening Standard

If Ali Smith's four quartets in, and about, time do not endure to rank among the most original, consoling and inspiring of the artistic responses to 'this mad and bitter mess' of the present, then we will have plunged into an even bleaker mid-winter than people often fear - Financial Times

Smith is a specialist by now in using a quizzical, feather-light prose style to interrogate the heaviest of material...throughout Winter, grief and pain are transfigured, sometimes lastingly, by luminous moments of humour, insight and connection... Even in the bleak midwinter, Smith is evergreen - Telegraph

A novel of great ferocity, tenderness and generosity of spirit that you feel Dickens would have recognised...Smith is engaged in an extended process of mythologizing the present states of Britain... Luminously beautiful - Observer

A sparkler...tune in to Spring and Summer to see if art can save the day - Spectator

Graceful... That trademark mischievous wit and wordplay, a joyful reminder of the most basic, elemental delights of reading ... Infused with some much-needed humour, happiness and hope - Independent

A capacious, generous shapeshifter of a novel taking in Greenham Common and Barbara Hepworth, Shakespeare and global migration, it juxtaposes art with nature and protest with apathy, finding surprising alliances in a family riven by feuds. It's a book with Christmas at its heart, in all its familiarity and estrangement: about time, and out of time, like the festival itself - The Guardian

Dazzling second instalment of Ali Smith's seasonal quartet - The Daily Telegraph

A book I can't wait to read for Christmas - The Observer

Relish this instalment - The Times

I would like to be given Winter for Christmas - The Observer

And now looking forward to [Ali Smith's] Winter - Gordon Brown

And the book I'd most like to find in my Christmas stocking is Ali Smith's Winter - The Observer

Finally, under the tree this year I'm hoping to find Ali Smith's Winter - The Observer

It's a brisk, frosty walk under skies that could open at any moment revealing anything but snow - The Observer

A book I'd like to be given for Christmas: Winter by Ali Smith - The Observer

It takes you on a journey through time - Christmases past and present in a Dickensian way, but brings you bang up to the present - how can we live our lives and keep our memories and how do we find the truth? It is uplifting and miraculous with plenty of surprises along the way. It is vintage Smith - Jackie Kay

"Winter" is an insubordinate folk tale, with echoes of the fiction of Iris Murdoch and Angela Carter... There are few writers on the world stage who are producing fiction this offbeat and alluring... [Ali Smith] intends to send a chill up your shanks and she succeeds, jubilantly... Her dialogue is a series of pine cones flung at rosy cheeks - The New York Times

Smith is routinely brilliant, knowing, masterful... The light inside this great novelist's gorgeous snow globe is utterly original, and it definitely illuminates - New York Times Book Review

The only preparation required to savor the Scottish writer Ali Smith's virtuosic "Winter" is to pay attention to the world we've recently been living in...What Smith has achieved in her cycle so far is exactly what we need artists to do in disorienting times: make sense of events, console us, show us how we got here, help us believe that we will find our way through...Smith gives us a potent, necessary source of sustenance that speaks directly to our age...Yet we, like her characters, are past the winter solstice now - the darkest part of the coldest season done. From here on out, we're headed toward the light...It doesn't feel that way, I know. But in the midst of "Winter," each page touched with human grace, you might just begin to believe - Boston Globe

Winter is a stunning meditation on a complex, emotional moment in history - TIME

Ali Smith is flat-out brilliant, and she's on fire these days...You can trust Smith to snow us once again with her uncanny ability to combine brainy playfulness with depth, topicality with timelessness, and complexity with accessibility while delivering an impassioned defence of human decency and art - NPR

The stunningly original Smith again breaks every conceivable narrative rule; reflecting her longstanding affinity for Modernism, what she gives us instead is a stylistically innovative cultural bricolage that celebrates the ecstasy of artistic influence. It demands and richly rewards close attention. [Autumn and Winter] each add to Smith's growing collection of glittering literary paving stones, along a path that's hopefully leading toward the Nobel she deserves. In the interim, we can (re)read "Winter" - and eagerly await the coming of "Spring" - Minneapolis Journal Sentinel

One of the rarest creatures in the world: a really fearless novelist...her prose is melodic, associative, wise, sometimes maddening...'she shares with Mantel and Ishiguro a sense of human caution, a need to understand, a wariness of the high-handedly authorial. All write with the humility of adulthood - Chicago Tribune

The second in Smith's quartet of seasonal novels displays her mastery at weaving allusive magic into the tragicomedies of British people and politics...a bleak, beautiful tale greater than the sum of its references - Vulture

An engaging novel due to the ecstatic energy of Smith's writing, which is always present on the page - Publishers Weekly

A sprightly, digressive, intriguing fandango on life and time - Kirkus Reviews

These individuals converge to confront each other in the big shabby house, like characters in a Chekhov play. At first, hellish implosion looms. Slowly, erratically, connection creeps in. Lux quietly mediates. Ire softens. Sophia at last eats something. Art resees Nature..."Winter" gives the patient reader a colorful, witty - yes, warming - divertissement - San Francisco Chronicle

With Iris and Lux as catalysts, scenes from Christmas past unfold, and our narrow views of Sophia and Art widen and deepen, filled with the secrets and substance of their histories, even as the characters themselves seem to expand. As in Sophia's case, for Art this enlargement is announced by a hallucination - "not a real thing," as Lux tells Iris, whose response speaks for the book's own expansive spirit: "Where would we be without our ability to see beyond what it is we're supposed to be seeing?" - The Minneapolis Star Tribune

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“Diminishing returns”

Ali Smith has written some wonderful novels - 'There but for the', 'How to be Both', and the absolutely joyful 'Girl Meets Boy' - which put her among the top ranks of latter-day Scottish... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 59

“Skilful but meandering”

I remember enjoying Autumn, and Smith’s other novels (such as How to be Both) have had enormous impact on me as a reader and as a writer, but I somehow found this less gripping. There is a bit of a plot and she has... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 15

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