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Ali Smith’s revelatory Summer captures a polarised Britain

Set during the coronavirus outbreak, the final novel of Smith's seasonal quartet is complete with references to Zoombombing, Black Lives Matter and Dominic Cummings’s blog

Costa Novel Award Winner Ali Smith arrives at the 2015 Costa Book Awards at Quaglino's, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 27, 2015. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Ali Smith’s new novel is the final volume in a four-part series conceived after she missed her publisher’s deadline for delivery of 2014’s How to be Both. That book was turned out by Hamish Hamilton in six weeks, in spite of a manuscript delivered a year late, and an unusual split structure by which the story begins either in present-day Cambridge or Renaissance Italy, depending on which of the two different (and simultaneously published) versions you happen to read.

The publisher’s quick turnaround inspired…

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