I am fresh off the Autumn reading high, and I am so curious to see how Ali Smith is going to use the seasons to make social commentary. I read both Autumn and Winter fairly quickly, so there is absolutely something compelling about Ali Smith’s literary style that has grabbed me.
In Winter, Smith completely changes the characters and basic plot, although the post-Brexit Britain is ever in the foreground. This time, Sophia and Art, a mother and son, are the major characters. Sophia is haunted by a baby’s head and she is trying to adjust to a series of memories that have come to sit with her at Christmastime. Meanwhile, Art is being doxed by his ex-partner Charlotte and trying to make a go of his Art in Nature blog. Trying to cope with the reality of being single at Christmas, he recruits a young woman to pose as Charlotte, all while trying to find out her own background and story. Sophia’s sister Iris, a lifelong activist, has been perpetually estranged from the family, but an emergency brings the family together.
This book was harder to grasp, because there were so many moving parts to piece together. There were, however, many allusions to Donald Trump that were dismaying and upsetting. The final lines of the novel are a gut-punch and reinforce the “winter” theme that Smith is conveying. I’m not sure where she is going to go next, but I am very curious. I don’t think Winter is quite as lyrical or interesting as Autumn, but it was a worthwhile read.
Cross-posted to my blog.