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Winter: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet)
by Ali Smith
Amazon rating
Critique Circle rating 
PublisherPantheon
Release Date2018-01-09 (added to CC 22 Jan)
Amazon Sales Rank2,524
The second novel in the Man Booker PrizeĖnominated authorís Seasonal cycle; the much-anticipated follow-up to Autumn (a New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Financial Times, The Guardian, Southern Living, and Kirkus Reviews best book of the year).

Winter. Bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone, so the old song goes. And now Artís mother is seeing things. Come to think of it, Artís seeing things himself.

When four people, strangers and family, converge on a fifteen-bedroom house in Cornwall for Christmas, will there be enough room for everyone?

Winter. It makes things visible. Ali Smithís shapeshifting Winter casts a warm, wise, merry and uncompromising eye over a post-truth era in a story rooted in history and memory and with a taproot deep in the evergreens, art and love.

Member Reviews
(2 Feb)
Ali Smith is one of my favourite contemporary authors. But unlike Autumn, which was brilliant but straightforward, I'm not sure I'll ever completely get Winter. Contrary to the peace and stillness I associated with the season, Winter is a chaotic mess. This is surely intended: a chunk of Winter is an ode to the chaotic mess of Shakespeare's Cymbeline. There are lots of other literary references (at one point it becomes A Christmas Carol) but on the whole it's a reworking of the nativity mixed with a traditional family-comes-together-at-Christmas story. Christmas is the main deal here, with the even the protest songs of decades of ban-the-bomb activists blurred with carol singing. Given that this is one of Smith's "contemparaneous fiction" works, there's a lot abut Trump, Brexit and particularly fake news (the main character gives up a bogus blog when it's fakeness incites mass truth).

But then there's the floating head, so prominent at the start of the story and then never mentioned again... Definitely clever, with an opening chapter that is one of the best I've read in a new novel, but it's hard to see what the ideal audience of Autumn would have with the ideal audience of Winter, which is odd when they're from the same novel sequence.
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