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Books in brief: Autumn

"Perhaps part of the reason she was able to write this novel about Brexit so soon after the referendum, is that it essentially retreads past work"

By Anthony Cummins   December 2016

autumnAutumn by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, £16.99)

Has a certain staleness crept into Ali Smith’s fiction? It feels almost ungrateful to ask. Her playful, unfettered style enables great intimacy with her characters as well as essayistic reflection and phantasmagorical flight. But perhaps part of the reason she was able to write this novel about Brexit so soon after the referendum, is that it essentially retreads past work. The first in a planned quartet, Autumn brims with erudite puns and riffs on the absurdities of sexism and xenophobia; one character encounters unyielding bureaucracy…

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