We sometimes become so bogged down that we forget to check-in with favourite authors, whose latest releases have not appeared on our radar at the time. Ali Smith is one of my favourite British writers and reading “Autumn” published last year, is profoundly delightful for many reasons – most importantly because of her simple but profound explorations of the meaning of life. Great satire resulted from choosing to set her book at the time of Brexit, and this is well described a few weeks ago on The Conversation. But it is her homage to stories and reading, sustained by the discourses between the protagonist and her great platonic love, which are mind blowing.
I wonder if you can name the book read to Daniel in his hospital bed below? Email Mrs Robins if you can. I hope this excerpt resonates with you and helps you to explain better, why you read fiction.
“She’d opened the book she bought today. She’d started to read, from the beginning, quite quietly, out loud.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.
The words had acted like a charm. They’d released it all, in seconds. They’d made everything happening stand just far enough away.
It was nothing less than magic. Who needs a passport? Who am I? Where am I? What am I? I’m reading. ” (p201)
“Autumn” (Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2017) is the first of a quartet (you can guess the other titles) and I look forward to them all. Don’t forget if you have any suggestions for book purchases, use the suggestion box on the front counter.