I read this back in May, I think, and then in November or something the Booker Prize Reading Group decided to read it so I figured a reread was probably worth it. My first review is here:
Oddly enough I wasn’t so enamored of the book this time. I read Winter just last month and it seemed better to me for some reason. They’re both included in the author’s “Season’s” quartet.
by Ali Smith
2016 / 272 pages
read by Melody Grove / 5h 27m
Rating: 8.75/ contemp fiction
(both read and listened)
** second of a seasonal quartet **
(but NO need to read in order)
The same tone is there as regular readers of Smith will note – facing life and death and the issues in between with a sense of humor and love. Memory, love and art are major themes – probably throughout the series.
In this book, Daniel Gluck, is very old and at the end of his life and alone in a care home. But he’s being visited by his good friend Elizabeth Demand who, in her late 20s, is young enough to be his granddaughter. They’ve been friends a long time – most all of her life – due to his being a neighbor.
Trying to get permission to visit him is a chore in itself and those chapters about getting the passport are so funny.
But Elizabeth visits and remembers their time together, how they met, while Daniel dozes and dreams it – or relives those times and others of his life. The two friends talked about art and truth and reality and the things Smith writes about. And now he lays dreaming and dying.
Elizabeth’s mother plays a huge role in the novel – also reliving some eras but she’s more interested in old television shows and nostalgia as collectible. The chapters about Mom and Elizabeth are also pretty humorous. (Something needs to be.)