“…there is a devastating beauty in the ending that leaves a glimmer of hope in your heart and a tear on your cheek.”
As usual, Smith provides us with an exceptional story of human relationships delicately handled and greater than the sum of its parts.
Elisabeth is a university lecturer, still living in the same rented flat she has been in for 10 years and with no hope of moving on any time soon. Mr Gluck is an old man currently living in a care home who Elisabeth visits regularly, bringing with her a second-hand book to read while Mr Gluck sleeps. The story takes place following the 2016 referendum but Smith takes us back and forth in time allowing the relationship between Mr Gluck and Elisabeth to unfold. Much like her previous novel How to Be Both, Smith provides appreciation, interpretation and a history of art in equal measure.
Autumn expertly captures the anger and disruption caused by the referendum without a sense of antagonism. Hate, obstacles, resistance, love and tragedy prevail throughout the novel and Smith explores these themes as though she can read the soul of every single reader. Though focused on a divisive topic, and with reference to past horrors and unrequited loves, there is a devastating beauty in the ending that leaves a glimmer of hope in your heart and a tear on your cheek.
Autumn is the first in Smith’s Seasonal Quartet series.
Grab yourself a copy of each of the books in the series, including the last instalment Summer which was published on 6th August 2020: Seasonal Quartet