Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Spring” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Seasonal #3)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,382 ratings  ·  410 reviews
From the bestselling author of Autumn and Winter, as well as the Baileys Prize-winning How to be both, comes the next installment in the remarkable, once-in-a-generation masterpiece, the Seasonal Quartet

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 eart
Paperback, 340 pages
Published March 28th 2019 by Hamish Hamilton
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Spring, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,382 ratings  ·  410 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, uk, 2019-eu, 2019
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 lik
Gumble's Yard
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, 2019-ntb
Delighted with my two other 2018 judges (Cath and Ellie) to have picked this as our choice for the 2019 Guardian Not The Booker Prize shortlist (

My citation there:

Spring is the third of Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet, a highlight of each literary year with their rhythmic examination of contemporaneous events through wordplay, historical resonance, female artists who capture past decades (here Katherine Mansfield and the 1920s), Dickens, Charlie Chaplin a
-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
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Ali Smith is our oracle

Spring is the third of 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 their natur
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-read, uk
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
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, wh
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 h
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
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
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
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, 5-stars
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
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

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
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
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
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
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
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
Jonathan Pool
I will keep my review of the book brief. There are excellent, comprehensive detailed reviews on Goodreads- and most notably:
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
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
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 (l
So, I loved this installment just as much as I loved Autumn, even though I think this is not a perfect book. I think that Richard and Paddy's storyline was stronger than Brit and Florence's, or rather it was less intent on hitting you on the head with its message. However, let's be honest, there are a lot of people who need to be hit on the head with the message of this book. The conundrum here is that it is quite unlikely that the people reading this book are among them. Despite its imperfectio ...more
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
(4.5, RTC)

The third in Smith’s seasonal quartet, and a lot of her overarching plan with this project starts to come clear. Focusing in part on grieving filmmaker Richard Lease, who has just lost his friend, collaborator and former lover Patricia Heal, and in part on Brittany Hall, a young security officer at a refugee detention center just outside of London, the novel is also dotted with short sections which we’re meant to think of as being authored by Florence Smith, a schoolgirl who seems baff
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Here is a collection of words which I feel fit Ali Smith's Spring, the third book in her seasonal quartet, perfectly:

- Timely
- Timeless
- Phenomenal
- Powerful
- Evocative
- Striking
- Intelligent
- Important
- Urgent
- Vital

I can't wait for Summer.
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Spring is a time of paradox, of contrasts. On the one hand, it represents the death of the old, a time of dust, disappearance, unbundling, a parting of ways. On the other, a time of opening, uncovering, germination, the prospect of unexpected afterlives. It is this threshold, this cluster of polarities that Smith’s novel captures so well.

Unlike Winter — which I felt was heavy on the politics and light on the characters — this novel is grounded by a strong emotional core. We meet a colorful cast
Michael Livingston
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ali Smith is brilliant - she writes bold, unconventional books that are incredibly readable and tackle critical issues with the ways we live now. Spring is probably my favourite of the three seasonal quartet books that she's published so far, and the bar was pretty high. It's funny, angry, humane, odd and just deeply, deeply enjoyable. Get into it.
Katie Long
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The girl is like someone or something out of a legend or story, the kind of story that on the one hand isn't really about real life but on the other is the only way you ever really understand anything about real life.

She makes people behave like they should, or like they live in a different better world...

She's, what's the word?

Another old word from history and songs that nobody uses in real life any more.

She is good.


I am tempted to leave my review at the one word, but I guess I'll say a l
Robert Blumenthal
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the third in Ali Smith's seasonal quartet, and it continues with the high quality writing that was exhibited in the previous two. The tone and organization and narrative are similar, mixing a very loose plot with ruminations on life in these times. Here she specifically focuses on the migrant crisis in Britain and the inhumane treatment of these human beings in the detention centers there (and we thought that we only did that here in the US). The book is divided into three parts: part on ...more
Cátia Vieira
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Why should you read this book?
Wow, I am writing this review and not even five minutes have passed since I’ve finished this book! But that’s how I want to do it. When I started Spring by Ali Smith – the third installment of the Seasonal Quartet – I thought to myself: is there a chance that Ali Smith may be compromising the quality of her books to obey her deadlines? After all, Autumn was published in 2016, Winter in 2017 and, now, we have Spring in 2019. But, after reading this book, I just have
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Spring.- Ali Smith - 5 stars 6 23 May 05, 2019 07:05PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Machines Like Me
  • The Glass Hotel
  • Domesticated Wild Things and Other Stories
  • Wormen en engelen
  • Multiples: 12 Stories in 18 Languages by 61 Authors
  • The City We Became
  • Wereldschaduw
  • Gebrek is een groot woord
  • Drift
  • De doodshoofdvlinder
  • Boy
  • Voor het vergeten
  • Olive, Again (Olive Kitteridge, #2)
  • On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
  • The Furies
  • Mystiek lichaam: Een geschiedenis
  • Únava materiálu
  • Povětroň
See similar books…
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 (3 books)
  • Autumn
  • Winter
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“We need to suggest the enemy within. We need enemies of the people we want their judges called enemies of the people we want their journalists called enemies of the people we want the people we decide to call enemies of the people called enemies of the people we want to say loudly over and over again on as many tv and radio shows as possible how they're silencing us. We need to say all the old stuff like it's new. We need news to be what we say it is. We need words to mean what we say they mean. We need to deny what we're saying while we're saying it. We need it not to matter what words mean.” 3 likes
“Stop thieving my tragedy” 2 likes
More quotes…