The last of Ali Smith’s four seasons. I read somewhere it’s the longest of the four books. For me, it could have been longer still. It turns mostly full circle, letting us spend more time with the characters from Autumn. And Winter. Less so from Spring.

I actually sat down and tried to draw a kind of family tree for the books. It’s quite satisfying meeting and re-meeting people like this. It feels real, rather than them being merely fictional characters. My favourite one from Autumn came back, which made me happy. She gave even more depth to this family tree.

And I’m not sure, but I imagine the reader knows more than the characters do. About how they tie in with each other, I mean. A typical book of fiction would explain who’s who in some way. But what you discover here is that it doesn’t matter. If receiving a small violin in the post makes a person happy, then it does. No matter how it all ties up.

There is much goodness in here, contrasting with all the bad stuff we are living through. Ali obviously intended for Brexit to feature, but she couldn’t know about Covid for Summer. It works, though.

If someone could enlighten me as to which Charlotte it is we are seeing in Summer, I’d be grateful. But perhaps this, too, does not really matter. Also, English speakers have a real problem with Elisabeth without a z, don’t they? Might also not matter.

I feel revived and slightly more cultured than I was at the beginning.

There is hope. If that’s enough, I don’t know. But one can hope.

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