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Summer: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet) von Ali…
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Summer: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet) (Original 2020; 2021. Auflage)

von Ali Smith (Autor)

Reihen: Seasonal Quartet (4)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
3312061,445 (4.11)63
Mitglied:zhejw
Titel:Summer: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet)
Autoren:Ali Smith (Autor)
Info:Anchor (2021), 400 pages
Sammlungen:Gelesen, aber nicht im Besitz
Bewertung:****
Tags:fiction, england, politics, family

Werk-Details

Summer von Ali Smith (2020)

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This series has been a balm for my soul, and no doubt for the souls of many others devastated by the 21st century's rapid embrace of hatred, division, cronyism, lies, mistruths, financial inequality, social inequality, political inequality, irrational and poorly thought-out arguments, and anything else that sees kindness and reason as unnecessary barriers on the path ahead.

Summer is a fitting conclusion. While I can only award the individual novel 4 stars, the series as a whole certainly deserves 5.

The books are certainly filled with despair and fear, with that vertiginous feeling constantly rattling in the brains of those of us who know our history, utterly bewildered that all this can happen over and over again, and yet not surprised at all. Smith captures characters who cannot quite connect, who cannot quite see past their own worldviews to peer inside the minds of others. Yet, she also offers hope.

That hope has become harder to find, not just during the apocalyptic year of 2020, but during the entirety of my lifetime, the apex of the neoliberal movement. Smith's series is not an instruction manual, not a solution. Rather it is like the songs we sing in the darkness, to remind ourselves that we are not alone. It is a battle cry, or a gospel hymn. It reminds us that we are more than our worst selves. Like the late Shakespeare plays which are referenced frequently throughout the four volumes, Smith suggests that there is still magic in the web, that humans still have the capacity to overcome the dark times we have created, and metamorphose them into something rich and strange. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 5, 2021 |
Smith's books always amuse and make you wonder. She is like Emily Dickinson, looking at life aslant. ( )
  PatsyMurray | Jul 25, 2021 |
‘’No point in asking anyone else to hold your world.’’

In the last instalment of the monumental Seasonal Quartet, Ali Smith introduces to families that have to fight their own demons, siblings who view the world differently, mothers whose vocation was lost somewhere in the process of having a family, couples that can’t decide what they want from their lives, ideas that have gone awry, evils of the past that are still pretty much alive and kicking. People thrown into the tides of forces that can bring us all down.

‘’It’s just what happens, she says. A sad tale’s best for winter. So Shakespeare injects sadness, like a device, a playwright’s device, he infects things with winter precisely so that he can have summer, make a merry tale come out of a sad one.’’

Ali Smith comments on populism, Anti-Semitism, hatred, the terror of war, climate change and all the themes I’ve encountered on Winter and Spring. There are quite a few absolutely striking, absolutely breathtaking moments of beauty, serenity and poignancy. References to the myth of Artemis and Actaeon (But someone confused Prometheus with Loki and I am not a fan…), Art, Shakespeare’s Pericles (again…), Dickens and Kafka. Frightening scenes of the persecution and massacre of the Jews by the Nazi monsters, instances when language becomes a field where absurdity and common sense begin a futile battle. The beauty of Smith’s writing is undeniable. But Summer felt like a book I had read before. Repeatedly.

I don’t know and I am not capable of explaining why there was something lacking when compared to Winter and Spring. The German sibling subplot didn’t really work for me and the non-linear narrative within the same chapters was unexpectedly tiresome. In addition, certain themes grow repetitive after two instalments, to the point of obsession. And I am tired, really, really tired of politics and politics and politics and a discussion that leads nowhere. I never discuss politics, I never read about it. I am exhausted and sick and tired.

I was heavily disappointed with the characters. The only ones I found remotely interesting were Grace, Charlotte and Mazzetti whose personality went to utter waste by Smith. In my humble opinion, she should have been granted a significant portion of the story. The rest of the dramatis personae seemed to me either indifferent or (more often than not…) a bunch of fanatic idiots that enjoy parroting Twitter mottos. Not impressed, I am sorry to say.

Obviously, I am glad I read it but I was far from thrilled. Someone stated that the Seasonal Quartet is actually a long novel. Well, yes, obviously. But not every chapter in a novel is interesting or impeccably written. And in my opinion, Summer fell short. I hope that Autumn will ‘’speak’’ to me in a thundering manner.

‘’But that’s summer for you. Summer’s like walking down a road just like this one, heading towards both light and dark. Because summer isn’t just a merry tale. Because there’s no merry tale without the darkness.’’

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jul 1, 2021 |
When it’s good, it’s very very good, but the other bits...! Smith’s distinctive style throughout the quartet has made her easy to parody, and there are so many characters by this point that the drifting between narratives is rather hard to follow. Doesn’t hang together well, in my opinion, but there are enough fine vignettes to remind you of the author’s class. ( )
  alexrichman | May 31, 2021 |
All through Autumn, Winter, and Spring, I was completely captivated by this literary experiment into writing loosely, and publishing relatively quickly and timely. With Summer, the last season of Ali Smith’s quartet, I was at a loss as to why I wasn’t as purely addicted as I was to the previous three. Maybe it seemed too much like something ”ripped from the headlines,” and I was discounting it, or I just found the times depicted just too damn depressing. The horrors of COVID were just starting to appear on some people’s radar screens (the story starts in February of 2020), George Floyd’s name is dropped, and Brexit has long settled in as a topic. One review spoke of, “a somberness to this volume that even Smith's characteristic compassion and brainy playfulness can't quite mitigate.” Or just maybe, though she brought back some of the familiar characters from the other books, I had just had enough of Smith’s long seasonal journey to the darkness of Summer.

The books are all similar in that Smith creates stories that have little chronology and slide into and past each other. To enjoy these books, I think that the reader has to trust in Smith, to enjoy being somewhat lost, and to allow themselves to be carried along by her writing. The following bits from a review amused and hit me as quite spot-on. “Dreams are tucked up under the armpits of serious shifts in time and pace. There are no directional arrows Scotch-taped to the floor.”
/
My disillusionment with this last season may just be that Smith aptly depicted the sorry state that the world found itself in. While she introduces some hope at times, it wasn’t enough for the darkness that overcame me. Reality doesn’t have the ability to care, and can be so cruel and unforgiving at times like these. “Whatever age you are,” one character comments, “you still die too young.”

As Stuart Kelly of The Scotsman writes, “The bigger question the novel poses is: what next? One thing alone is certain. There is no normal to which we will be going back.” That could be the answer to the loss of my addiction to these books, I don’t want to think about what is ahead for me or the world. Have a nice day. ( )
  jphamilton | May 25, 2021 |
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» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (3 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Ali SmithHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Hockney, DavidUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Juliette BurtonErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt

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It was a summer's night and they were

talking, in the big room with the windows

open to the garden, about the cesspool.

Virginia Woolf
Lord keep my memory green!

Charles Dickens
However vast the darkness

we must supply our own light.

Stanly Kubrick
I thought of that person,

him or her, as taking me to a country

far high sunny where I knew to be happy

was only a moment, a puttering flame in her fireplace

but burning all the misery to cinders

if it could, a sift of dross like what we mourn for

as caskets sink with horrifying blandness

into a roar, tino smoke, into light, into almost nothing.

The not quite nothing I praise it and I write it.

Edward Morgan
Oh, she's warm!

William Shakespeare
Widmung
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for my sister

Maree Morrison

Anne MacLeod
my friends

Paul Bailey

Bridget Hannigan
to keep in mind

my friend

Sarah Daniel
and for

my huckleberry friend

Sarah Wood
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