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Spring

(Seasonal #3)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  5,919 ratings  ·  851 reviews
Spring will come. The leaves on its trees will open after blossom. Before it arrives, a hundred years of empire-making. The dawn breaks cold and still but, deep in the earth, things are growing.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 28th 2019 by Hamish Hamilton
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Fionnuala Just as it would be unnatural to experience the seasons in any other sequence than the one we have, I think it would be a mistake to read these books …moreJust as it would be unnatural to experience the seasons in any other sequence than the one we have, I think it would be a mistake to read these books out of order
While each book in the series works as a complete novel in itself, there are subtle clues in Winter and Spring regarding the main characters of the first book, Autumn, and it is hinted at the end of this third book that the last book, Summer will lead directly back to Autumn.
So it's a perfect cycle, like the seasons of the year.(less)
Coral Ward I probably can't answer the question but I could only see Florence as being like Greta Thunberg - a girl who appears insignificant and often invisible…moreI probably can't answer the question but I could only see Florence as being like Greta Thunberg - a girl who appears insignificant and often invisible because she is "only" a girl, but does more good than any of the adults around. She is the next generation and probably they are the ones to save us all. We need to listen to them.(less)

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Gumble's Yard
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, 2019-ntb
With Ali Smith's final volume "Summer" due this week - I hope (for those who want to read Summer without revisiting the first three) that this serves as a valuable resource:

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The third of Ali’s Smith’s seasonal quartet after Autumn and Winter. A book I started at the beginning of Spring in the UK and finished 24 hours later at the beginning of Autumn in Australia.

Interestingly at one point, Richard remembers speaking in the past
...more
Ilse
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ali Smith, wordsmith.

Ali Smith, poet of hope.

Ali Smith, magician.

Ali smith, the great connective.

'The air lifts. It’s the scent of commencement, initiation, threshold. The air lets you know quite ceremonially that something has changed. Primroses. Deep in the ivy throw wide the arms of their leaves. Colour slashes across the everyday. The deep blue of grape hyacinths, the bright yellows in wastelands catching the eyes of the people on trains. Birds visit the leafless trees, but not leafless li
...more
Marchpane
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-releases
Ali Smith is our oracle

Spring is the third instalment in Ali Smith’s Seasonal quartet of novels, which examine the current state of Britain through the lives of everyday people. By writing as close to publication as possible, Smith transforms your news feed into something deeply humane and essential. To me, they are balm for the soul.

A few things you might like to know about the series:

• These books can be read in any order – but the publication sequence is probably best, keeping the seasons in
...more
Fionnuala
-Ah, you're reading the book with the Hockney tree image again. The branches have lots of new leaves, I see!

-Yes, yes! YES! This is the third book in the series. I'm very excited. Can't turn the pages fast enough!

-Slow down, no need to rush. No one's calling Time. No one's saying, Read up! Read up!

-You're right, you're right. I need to be calm and savor every budding idea, every blossoming image.

-That's it, nice and easy. It's only early April, after all. And you have so many other books on yo
...more
Meike
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uk, 2019-read
I'd like to apologize for giving "Spring" only 5 stars, because this rating still fails to reflect the book's genius. In the third installment of her seasonal quartet (after Autumn and Winter), Ali Smith writes about the human longing to be seen, to have a home in the world and in other people. Once again, the book shines with its exquisite ability to intertwine the personal and the political, to show art as life force as real as human relationships and the natural seasons, and all of that is co ...more
Violet wells
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ali Smith has set herself the task of writing these four seasonal novels quickly. To help achieve this she uses the same scaffolding in each of them. She begins with a play on the opening line of various Charles Dickens' works - the great British critic of social injustice. She ghosts in a Shakespeare play - someone/something all us Brits can all be proud of. In each book she offsets the present day with a distant decade of the 20th century. She incorporates into each book a sinister governmenta ...more
Bianca
Damn! This was so good. I practically inhaled it.

How do I even begin to write a review for this incredible novel... I am unworthy and unskilled.

Ali Smith is a genius. A creative, very humane genius.
I am absolutely blown away, yet again.
This was magical, touching, surreal and so contemporary.
As it was the case with the previous instalments of this quartet, Smith introduces the reader to another female artist, who has been forgotten. This time is the New Zealander writer Katherine Mansfield, w
...more
Hugh
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another near masterpiece from Ali Smith's seasonal quartet - in some ways I think this one is the best yet. Once again, she weaves a number of strands in a way which can seem almost random, but the further you get into the quartet, the more the whole seems planned, and everything is there for a reason. I am not going to write a long detailed review - I recommend these, from Gumble's Yard and Paul. (Update 11 April - I also recommend these from Neil and Jonathan) .

This time the foreground story
...more
Collin
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ali Smith is in deep trouble. How in the world is she going to top this with the next instalment of her Season’s Quartet? This is easily the best novel I have read this year. For me it is almost a masterpiece. I adored Autumn and didn’t think that any of the next three could be as good. I thought Winter was tremendous, but still not as good as Autumn, and then Smith gives us Spring. This book covers the zeitgeist of a fragile England, Brexit, and immigration, and at times the reader feels trappe ...more
Paul Fulcher
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I shall be glad though when Spring comes. Winter is a difficult time.
A letter in 1922 from Katherine Mansfield to "L.M." (Lesley Moore, her nickname for Ida Baker, her companion and confidant)

Spring is the brilliant 3rd instalment of Ali Smith's seasonal quartet and comes with the usual beautiful wrapper on the cover featuring a picture from David Hockney's The Arrival of Spring.

Mess up my climate, I’ll fuck with your lives. Your lives are a nothing to me. I’ll yank daffodils out of the ground
...more
Ceecee
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spring is my favourite season because it is renewal and full of promise. It might arrive with a bang or a whimper or a gentle warm embrace. This third of the seasons quartet examines the state of Britain in 2018 and it’s not a pretty picture. However, Ali Smith tries to give it a human face either via the past or the present and reminds us that after the bleak darkness of winter there is the hope of spring. There are two narratives which initially don’t seem to coincide. There’s Richard, an elde ...more
Tracey
Here we go again, me trying to 'review' an Ali Smith book...

I think this one, out of the three books written in this seasonal quartet is the one that has affected me most. It is the one, I feel, where Ali Smith has 'vented her spleen' the most, where she has expressed the anger and injustice that we all, as human beings should all be feeling, and expressing it in such a powerful way that I had to take a breather to wipe my tears and get a cup of tea to calm my emotions. (A good stiff whiskey mig
...more
Neil
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Autumn, then there’ll be winter. Then there’ll be spring, and so on.

As Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet progresses, I find it increasingly hard to write anything that concentrates on only the book I have just read. In preparation for reading Spring, I re-read both Autumn and Winter and there are so many things going on that link the books in terms of both characters and themes that it now feels very much that you have to review the current status of the quartet as a whole, not just this third instal
...more
Trudie
3.5

This is one of these reviews that is tough to write because at least among my associates here on Goodreads this book is universally adored. I fully expected to enjoy it as well.

However, I don't know if it was my current reading mood or the feeling that the much vaunted timeliness of this novel combined in an unfortunate way with happenings in the real world ( can I blame Boris here ? ) but whatever the reasonings I found this a surprising chore to get through.
And yet I know what Smith is a
...more
Roman Clodia
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 36%

Honestly? Despite so many friends 5-starring this and the earlier books in the quartet, it's just confirmation that Smith and I are not a match. I love her politics, and her set piece monologues on the 'politics of stupidity' and big data are spot on, if not as zeitgeisty now as when this book first came out. I also loved Paddy for the brief pages when she's there. But the rest... not really.

It's like topics are just thrown in randomly: Katherine Mansfield, Rilke, clouds, postcards, b
...more
Doug
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5, rounded down.

As with the first two volumes in Smith's planned tetralogy, this merited a 4.5 for me, and like the other two volumes, I had to consult the reviews of the 'Usual Suspects' (Paul, Neil, Meike, GY, Jonathan, Hugh) to heighten my understanding of what was going on and the myriad references/interconnections - and yet remain still a bit confused and nonplussed, but definitely put that down to my own deficiencies, rather than Ms. Smith's fault.

Raced through this virtually in a few h
...more
Eric Anderson
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The more I read of Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet, the more poignant and meaningful this magnificent artistic project feels. Although each novel has a self-contained story concerning a group of characters, an overarching fictional family is being built with small references connecting characters between the novels. This adds a little frisson of pleasure for attentive readers who spot the connections (one such link is explicitly made to “Autumn” at the end of this novel.) But, most of all, a portra ...more
Teresa
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a reason I can’t disclose, I had to read Spring during winter. But, as I discovered, that wasn’t entirely inappropriate. Spring is suffused with winter, and much of it is set in autumn.

Ali Smith’s Spring follows the path of her seasonal predecessors with the elements it contains: timeliness, of course; references to a Shakespeare play and a Dickens story; a real-life female artist—in this case, Tacita Dean; a precocious girl and/or a mysterious young woman. (With the latter quality, which i
...more
Lisa
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Spring is still simmering in my brain and I'm not totally sure what I read. Smith tells the story of a TV director mourning the loss of his friend and fellow artist; a young woman with a job at a refugee center; a 12 year old who -- well I'm not sure about Florence, but she is still somehow at the center of this novel. Smith connects them while delivering a scathing critique on the treatment of refugees in a divided Britain.

I love that in her seasonal novels, Smith always compels me to want to
...more
Vanessa
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I still think I preferred Autumn, but Ali Smith's latest instalment of her seasonal quartet Spring brought me back to life in a way that Winter didn't. I didn't quite warm to the characters in quite the same way, but I was forever intrigued by what I felt like was an almost magical realism quality to certain sections of the story. As we later discover, there is a reason for this effect, but it didn't take away from that quality - in fact, it made it feel even more powerful. I know I'm being vagu ...more
MJ Nicholls
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
The penultimate novel in the quadruplet brings an ageing TV director, a waspish guard in an immigrant detention centre, and another of Smith’s preternaturally precocious word-pixie teenagers (a recurring character type in her novels) together in another plate-spinning mélange of literary references (Mansfield and Rilke), hot topics (immigrants and social media), and a smattering of elegant seasonal rumination. The results are as successful and engaging as in the other two novels, although long-t ...more
Claire
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes there is an author who just speaks to you in a way that others don’t or can’t, and Ali Smith is that author for me.

What to say about Spring, that is meaningful and captures the significance of this novel to us all, in our times?

If it’s even possible, Spring exceeded my super high expectations, and is probably the best of the seasonal quartet so far (and they’re basically all perfect). In it, Smith is as always, an exceptional wordsmith. She confronts us unapologetically with some of t
...more
Dan
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Here’s the skinny: I didn’t like Spring as much as its two predecessors.

Here’s what I liked about Spring: As with Autumn and Winter, Smith infuses Spring’s principal characters with sweetness and humanity, unabashedly sentimental without being maudlin. Examples? Richard’s imaginary daughter is heartbreaking, and the ambiguity of Smith’s portrayal of Dermot and Patrick — Paddy’s twins — is perfect. Smith excels at cross-generational relationships as well as friendships between older and younger
...more
Caro the Helmet Lady
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
As always with Ali Smith, you get so much to deal with, to think about and to empathize. You don't necessarily want to, but you just have to. Because once you start reading - you can't stop.
As always - a puzzle, an impressionist painting. This one it was probably colder, rougher than the ones before. Very straightforward and clever and on point on politics and all common sense thoughts about it. I wonder what she's going to write about this year, if she will?
Can't wait for the last part.
Paltia
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pardon me while I gush over Ali Smith’s Spring. Where to begin when an entire book proves so quotable? Florence, the girl with the power of making herself invisible and hypnotising those who threaten, is a great start. As Smith describes her she is the girl who makes people behave like they should or like they live in a different world. Florence is the fixed point that remains so all the others can find their way. She’s a point of reference - the return of Spring. A keeper of wisdom gained from ...more
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
I thought that Winter would end up being my favorite of this quartet, but now I’m not sure. What I feel confident saying is that so far, Spring is the most cohesive standalone novel of the three. It’ll be so strange for this series to end!
Gemma
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
For me, not the exhilarating read that was Autumn. This felt more uneven, more hit and miss. Still though very pertinent to these troubled and divided times we live in.
Jonathan Pool
I will keep my review of the book brief. There are excellent, comprehensive detailed reviews on Goodreads- and most notably:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Suffice to say I think Spring is a wonderful book, by a writer at the peak of her powers, writing in a way (contemporaneous with real life events) that is innovative , and yet, by her admission a return to the days
...more
Kathleen
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Spring follows Autumn and Winter in Smith’s ambitious seasonal quartet. It is chocked full with ideas on politics—from the British Empire to Brexit; the power of art and literature upon the human condition; and the desire of humankind to be valued as individuals. Smith’s writing is ‘Scottish’ postmodernism where realistic fiction is intermingled with surreal elements. Add in a heavy dose of symbolic references and puns for the word sleuths to ponder and you have a brilliant novel for the cerebra ...more
Krista
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The seasons are meaningless. No – worse than meaningless. Paddy is rubble, and time just keeps on going. Autumn, then there'll be winter. Then there'll be spring, and so on.

Ali Smith's Seasonal Series is such an interesting project: setting semi-related stories in our immediate here and now, released quickly over the span of a couple of years, Smith couldn't possibly have predicted the absolute specifics of where we are today, and yet she presciently chose some interesting strings to follow
...more
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Play Book Tag: Spring.- Ali Smith - 5 stars 6 27 May 05, 2019 07:05PM  

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Ali Smith is a writer, born in Inverness, Scotland, to working-class parents. She was raised in a council house in Inverness and now lives in Cambridge. She studied at Aberdeen, and then at Cambridge, for a Ph.D. that was never finished. In a 2004 interview with writing magazine Mslexia, she talked briefly about the difficulty of becoming ill with chronic fatigue syndrome for a year and how it for ...more

Other books in the series

Seasonal (4 books)
  • Autumn (Seasonal, #1)
  • Winter (Seasonal #2)
  • Summer (Seasonal, #4)

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